At only 16 years of age, Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett has already achieved remarkable things.
Oscar is Israeli-Australian and speaks Hebrew as well as English. His experience as the son of an immigrant led him to his first rally against xenophobia and racism in September 2015, which ignited his passion for public speaking.
“I found marching through the city, with hundreds of others, to be an extremely satisfying and moving experience. But at the end of the rally, when the final speeches were wrapping up, I hastily asked one of the organisers if I could quickly make an impromptu speech to the crowd, as the final official speaker was finishing up but the crowd was still engaged. I gave my first speech to a demonstration that afternoon. The way the speech was received and the feelings that I felt remain unforgettable, and I often wish I could relive it.”
Not long after, Oscar was galvanised by the debate around the Safe Schools program.
“The key issue that tied me into LGBTQ activism was the discussions about axing the Safe Schools Program in March 2016. I had been keeping an eye on the issue for a while at that point, but was absolutely stunned when the government actually decided to follow through with the funding cuts.
“I raised awareness about the issue through joining an organising committee of activists, students and teachers to mobilise the community in support of Safe Schools. This organisation culminated in a series of impactful demonstrations, both of which I spoke at, that raised the public profile of the Safe Schools program.”
Last year Oscar was the recipient of the Cultural Endeavours award at the WA Youth Awards in recognition of his inspiring work as an activist for LGBTQ rights.
“Being nominated, interviewed for, and eventually winning the Cultural Endeavours award was an unforgettable experience. I was nominated by a journalist who I had worked with at the height of the ‘Save Safe Schools’ campaign, who admired the work I had given to the movement.”
Oscar describes activism as a powerful way for young people to have their voices heard. He encourages other young Western Australians to find an issue they care about and get involved in the process.
“The message I have for young people in WA is for them to get involved. We matter and we need to have our voices heard. Please, don’t be afraid to raise your hand. Start going to peaceful demonstrations, start forming your own opinions, start marching, start chanting and start organising.”
In the future, Oscar would like to continue his work in local activism. However, his ultimate ambition is to affect change at a political level.
“My final aspiration, and my dream, is to enter politics and to be able to push for progressive values at a higher level.”
We wish him the best of luck.