City of Cockburn’s diversity and inclusion officer helps bridge cultural divides


The City’s new diversity and inclusion officer Meski Ashagrie.
The City’s new diversity and inclusion officer Meski Ashagrie.

THE opportunity to work with migrant families in her own community is the ideal way to spend her working days, according to City of Cockburn diversity and inclusion officer Meski Ashagrie.

The mother of two took up the newly created role at the City about nine months ago and after being invited to spend the morning with her, it is obvious why she got the role.

The Hammond Park local spends most mornings replying to residents who contact her via text messages and social media.

Currently working with the City’s Chinese community, she is liaising with residents on the City’s first ever cultural diversity and inclusion strategy plan.

With most residents unsure of the services provided to community members at the City, she fields questions about activities, work and what the City can help with.

“Many families have no idea what is available,” she said.

“Some know very little about local government, with some even fear it.

“They only know of rates, elections, bills, rubbish and think the only time you hear from them is when you receive a bill or a fine.

“Coming from different countries, there is a natural fear of authority, so I educate them on what is available.

“I ask them what do they want, what makes them feel included and what makes them feel excluded – it is all part of the consultation.”

Having recently worked on a Harmony Day video project and Australia Day and Coogee Live cultural performances, Mrs Ashagrie said not one day was the same, with many days going well into the night and even weekend.

To see the Harmony Day video, visit www.facebook.com/coogeelive.

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