African-Australian players plead for unity

AFL PLAYERS of African descent have joined forces in a bid to stamp out anti-social behaviour by some members of the African-Australian community in Melbourne and to ask that the community not be stigmatised by these actions.

An open letter issued on Thursday by North Melbourne’s Majak Daw, Sydney’s Aliir Aliir, Richmond’s Mabior Chol, Hawthorn’s Changkuoth Jiath, West Coast’s Tony Olongo, Port Adelaide’s Emmanuel Irra and other prominent sportspeople of African heritage pleaded with the public not to attribute the actions of a few to the whole African-Australian community.

“As many of you are aware, there are current social and youth issues causing harm, conflict and division within Victoria,” the statement read.

“To be clear, we in no way, shape or form, stand for such behaviours, but we urge the broader community to not allow it to define everyone of African descent.

“We as role models and members of the African-Australian community have come together to promote and represent the majority of the African-Australian community that are contributing and valued members of this country.

“Within the African-Australian communities are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, keen university students, children and young people with dreams and aspirations to become the next Majak Daw, Thon Maker or Deng Adut; respected professionals in their own right. This is what should come to mind when assessing the general population of African-Australians.”

Aliir Aliir, Gach Nyuon, Jason Johannisen, Majak Daw, Reuben William and Mabior Chol in 2016.

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