Ella believes in the power of diversity. Her poetry collection 'One' explores the stories of culturally diverse young people in her community of the Central Coast, NSW to show that despite our differences, we are all connected through our voice and humanity.
Here’s a selection of moving poems from One.
Allirra,17 | Bensville, NSW
I am Allirra
I am a Wadi Wadi woman of Yuin nation
I have passion for my land,
Nature my inspiration.
I am connected to the land where bush meets sea,
A love for the natural world
I feel it coursing inside of me.
Born on the peninsula, I belong in Jervis Bay
Through connection to my culture,
From materialism and greed, I stray
I am of the oldest culture in the world,
Kinship, bush and spirituality
I am proud of these roots, they are my identity.
My culture lives in my heart, heard through my ears.
I wish to educate everyone who hears.
Values of kinship, bush and spirituality
Be like the powerful voices of my family.
Activism in the wake of injustice,
I will fight for a cause, I will fight for my rights
I will fight for recognition of our existence.
“If you look after land and country
Land and country will look after you”
I walk the lands which meet the sea
I wish to take care of the lands, I do
My land where tradition grows like
Black sheoak from dunes with foliage like spikes.
I feel challenged by apathy,
A lack of knowledge of my history,
Representation here is at a low
A plague of ignorance disturbs me so.
In the face of injustice I try
To educate those who refuse the story of I.
Our story which remains untold,
We must learn of what has been and can be done
We are one.
Bilguun, 15 | Killcare, NSW
I am Bilguun,
I am multicultural,
I am different.
I recently migrated from Mongolia,
A culture of Russian and Chinese background,
My grandmother from Korea,
Stepfather from New Zealand,
Learning my multicultural history
A lesson which is worldly.
I came to Australia in April last year,
I have built friendships, relationships here.
I feel accepted by my community,
A culture of love and harmony.
I find it hard to relate to Australian culture,
Culture shock when interacting with one another.
Different upbringings, different lives,
Our diversity is what allows our community to thrive.
I learned a new language,
A new culture, a new life
It is my friends who helped me manage.
I stay with those who understand,
Who empathise and lend a hand.
When I believed I did not belong,
They believed I can.
We must reach out,
We must not stay silent when troubled
With unbelonging or struggle.
We must band with those who can save,
Us from a hardship and remain unscathed.
Friends, we must never have none,
We are one.
Ella, 16 | Copacabana, NSW
I am Ella
I have a voice
My Nene and Dede came here from Cyprus,
I am grateful for their choice.
I feel it hard to connect to culture,
When my vision is flooded by none
I sport an evil eye blue in colour
With my family I celebrate Bayrumi
I feast on traditional foods when I visit,
Dolma, Mulukhiya and pilaf
My friends laugh when they try to pronounce it.
My Nene was stripped of her voice,
No education, she had no choice.
A life of oppression she could not flee,
Reading and writing she was never allowed
Her experiences are what empower me.
My life purpose to make her proud.
I have skin similar to the earth in hue
Juxtaposed against the sand which is surrounding
A monocultural environment nurtures a girl of two
Taken as a token, ignorant words resounding
I am known for my race, not my value.
I drown the apathy with empathetic words,
Defeating hate, loving and being heard.
I wish to give a voice to the silenced,
To give peace to a world which is violent
Words and difference stream through my mind
Crashing upon this page of mine
Taking physical form in charcoal ink
Think, to transform I think
The air I breathe as my fuel
My pen as my tool
I think to challenge
My thoughts my bullets I slay my world
In a mad waltz, my dreary whirled
I am my word, a girl of the sun
We are one.