Stabbing victim’s daughter calls for peace and unity

Savannah Meacham |

The daughter of Vyleen White is calling for calm after her mother was stabbed to death.
The daughter of Vyleen White is calling for calm after her mother was stabbed to death.

The daughter of a Queensland grandmother who was stabbed to death in a shopping centre has called for peace after reports of abuse and hostility towards the local African community.

Vyleen White, 70, was stabbed in front of her six-year-old granddaughter at Redbank Plains in Ipswich on Saturday during a suspected carjacking.

Five boys aged between 15 and 16 have been charged over the incident, one with murder.

Queensland African Communities Council president Beny Bol says there has been a rise in hostility and verbal abuse towards the Australian-African community since the incident.

“‘You shouldn’t be in this country, pack all of your stuff and go back to your country’, you can imagine how that’s affecting people everywhere,” Mr Bol said of the online abuse.

Ms White’s daughter Cindy Micallef stood alongside Mr Bol at a press conference on Thursday calling for the racial abuse to stop.

“Mum’s legacy will live on in peace. She was never one to be prejudiced, she always looked for the best in people,” Ms Micallef said.

Her mother’s death had left her heartbroken and affected the entire community, she said.

“You’re always going to have rogue kids, it doesn’t matter what colour, there’s always going to be troublemakers.

“You don’t judge the whole community on a couple of bad apples.”

Residents lay flowers near a crime scene in Ipswich,
Vyleen White’s violent death has affected the entire community. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Micallef said her mother always pursued peace and that should be her legacy, not a divided community.

“Mum always said ‘If I died, no one would care’, and sorry mum but you’re sort of a bit in the spotlight now,” she said.

“If this is all for one reason, it is to pursue peace.”

Mr Bol said Ms White’s death had shaken the nation and Queensland but it was now a time for unity.

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

He called for an end to the racist vitriol and for the community to stand together to honour Ms White’s legacy.

“We want to see accountability, we want to see justice, we want to see peace, we want to see unity in our community,” he said.

“We should all be united. This has nothing to do with the background of the people.”