Posted on February 13, 2024

Daughter of Vyleen White Calls for Peace Amid Reports of Racist Attacks

Ben Smee, The Guardian, February 7, 2024

The eldest daughter of Queensland stabbing victim Vyleen White has joined local African community leaders to call for unity amid rising tensions and reports of racist attacks.

Cindy Micallef said her mother, who was 70, would not have wanted her death to “divide people”.

“Mum’s legacy will live on in peace,” she said.

“One of her things, even with family fights as normal families do, is to pursue peace with all diligence. She was never one to be prejudiced, she always looked for the best in people.

“I do not want anyone taking things out on [the African community].

“There are families, beautiful Somalian families, [who are] scared to send their kids to school.

“I don’t want people living in fear of that.”

Micallef said she had agreed to attend a joint press conference with the president of the Queensland African Communities Council, Beny Bol, on Thursday after reports of retaliation attacks against people of African descent.

Bol told Guardian Australia this week that the community was “under siege”, including physical attacks, verbal threats and racist social media posts.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder, while another four boys face charges relating to White’s allegedly stolen car.

Bol said the families of those boys, and the entire African community, condemned the attack.

“This is not about race or religion,” he told reporters.

“We are here because if somebody out there in our community – and I’m talking about the Austalian community – and they care and they are grieving and they want to see Vyleen’s legacy shine on, you need to join us.

“You need to be with us because she was a leader in the community. A devoted Christian. She donated to many charities around the world including in Africa.

“The best way we can honour her legacy is for us to preach peace, unity, justice and accountability. And to make sure people who do wrong things are held accountable individually.”

Bol said it was important to “send a message out that hate has no place here.”

“We are calling for all Australians to join us and to get to the bottom of issues why our young people are out there doing what they’re doing. We need to find a way to empower families, to empower communities and create a better society.”

Asked about the political reaction to her mother’s killing, Micallef spoke bluntly about the response by the state premier, Steven Miles. She said Miles visited her father and offered his condolences.

“He’s a seat warmer. He’s out. Full stop,” she said.

“Literally, it’s life and death. If you’re just pushing that aside, you’re not the right person for the job. They need to prove [themselves], not just say the nice words to get the votes.”

Bol said he had urged people in the African community to become “swinging voters” in an election year.

“You can see Cindy and myself here, no politicians standing next to us, no law enforcement officers are here. That sends a very strong message that this is our view, this is what we believe should be done.

“We should listen to the people and the party that has … some plan to improve things.”