With many communities around the country recently celebrating NAIDOC week we hear so many positives, that one would be in climbed to think that the country we are all so proud to call home; is moving forward together harmoniously.
I would like to shine some light on 2 particular incidents that was bought to my attention in the midst of NAIDOC week
One, where a First Nations woman was laughed at & mimicked during a particular welcome to country & traditional dance performance. Laughed at & ridiculed to the point where she was reduced to tears & felt so uncomfortable she had to leave the venue.
The event was one held by NSW Tafe, however I must make clear that the people alleged to be involved in the racial remarks were in attendance as part of the audience & were NOT actual workers within Tafe system - The other, was again a First Nations woman who was laughed at & turned away by her boss because she wanted her work place to celebrate NAIDOC week; a work place that is a Childcare centre which has First Nations Aboriginal young people in attendance & also as part of the staff. The staff member was told, if you would like to celebrate it, you organise it - with little to no support from the Non indigenous executive & staff & whilst expected to carry out her regular duties as per normal .
Here we have just two examples in two vastly different locations, where we see our people confronted head on with racism. We see one example where a young lady was traumatised so severely that I personally received a phone call at 1am crying in hysterics because she was so upset of the way she was treated during the discriminative ordeal.
Both examples a sign that we have much further to go on the road to a quality.
The young man who made such comments isn't the only guilty one when talking the terms of bigotry & discrimination. The man in question was surrounded by a small group of friends who both giggled & smirked at the comments. It is in my view that those friends who not only smirked or found it funny are just as much to blame as the perpetrator of the racism & discrimination, for they had ample opportunity to step in & put a stop to such behaviour. We can't put a stop to racism by only having people of colour speak out about it. Racism is everybody's business.
I feel the second example has a much broader effect!
The Childcare centre who chose not to support there staff by celebrating NAIDOC week could have have a much greater role in the national reconciliation process. By celebrating NAIDOC week they intern are supporting there staff, supporting there First Nations students & educating the broader community of non indigenous people about the hard times of the past, present & the richness & depth of aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander culture; the longest living continuous race on the planet. A chance to highlight to the Non Indigenous students how special our culture really is.
In final, I'd like to thank the many 10's of thousands of people of all race across the country who celebrated & are learning with us during NAIDOC week; but these two examples are just two are many we see everyday in our communities. We must continue our fight together, both First Nations & non indigenous to build a brighter future for our generations to come.