How Sweatshop tales are helping battle with racism

DURING an afternoon train ride on the Bankstown line, a young Vietnamese Australian woman has an encounter with an American preacher causing her to question her cultural and spiritual identity.

Yagoona resident Shirley Le’s ’Train God’ is one of more than 20 stories featured in Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement’s latest book, ‘Sweatshop Women: Volume Two’.
“Coming from a marginalised background, this story has allowed me to connect with my own truths and will strike a chord with local readers,” Ms Le said.
“Being a multicultural country, it is important that we have these stories in our literature.”
Other contributors to the book include Belmore’s Christine Afoa, Bankstown’s Meyrnah Khodr and Yagoona’s Aseel Harb.
Released a month early amid the growing demand for books during Covid, the book has been edited by Tongan-Australian writer, community arts worker and Sweatshop general manager Winnie Dunn, a powerful advocate for women and people of colour.
She believes that art and writing are important tools in the fight against sexism, racism and Islamophobia.
“In this current climate where we are seeing the horrendous rise of white supremacist and far-right groups around the world, the stories and experiences of culturally diverse women can help challenge and transform people’s negative opinions and prejudices,” Ms Dunn said.
The book features short stories and poems by 22 Australian writers who come from Indigenous, African, Arab, Asian and Pasifika backgrounds.
This new book been made possible through the support of I.C.E., the Australia Council for the Arts, the Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation, Diversity Arts Australia and Red Room Poetry.
‘Sweatshop Women: Volume Two’ can be purchased directly at