On a chilly but clear and sunny Sydney morning I walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with my aunt Jenni, and her wife Deirdre, for Reconciliation 2000. We are pictured here after the walk sitting at Darling Harbour for some speeches. You can see we are all wearing “I’m sorry” stickers. This part of my family have at different times all worked closely alongside and for Australian First Nations people both in remote communities and in government and NGO settings. It was beautiful and fitting to be part of this day together
Why did you Walk for Reconciliation in the year 2000?
We walked across the Harbour bridge alongside Aboriginal led voices to show our support for a strong need for justice, change and reconciliation in our entire nation.
What has changed in the last 20 years and what are you presently doing for Reconciliation?
I’m not too sure what has changed in 20 years to be honest. There is at least some better wider understandings of the ongoing colonisation of our First Nations people and it’s great to see so much momentum and activism around justice issues like changing the Australia Day celebrations date and the incredible turn out around the rallys for youth justice in the wake of Dondale. Yet we are still living on mostly unacknowledged stolen land. There are still daily injustices from my son’s Aboriginal friend being asked by Kmart security for her bag to be checked while my white skinned son glides on through the Kmart exit or the over- representation of Aboriginal men and women and young people in custody and in prisons.
What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?
I currently work on a program that is seeking to provide alternatives to custody for Aboriginal women at risk of incarceration. It sounds complicated but really it’s about making a space where culturally safe healing can occur. And that’s at the heart of what I hope for on a macro level too, in terms of our nation, the ability to create culturally safe spaces for healing. For all of us.