A group of us had planned to meet “under the Story Bridge” . By the time we arrived there was such an overwhelming crowd, that it was impossible to find anyone. The level of crowd was both wonderful and terrifying as it was so unexpected that no plans for crowd control and safety had been implemented. Several stewards took leadership in this area to keep people calm, organised and moving forward.
Why did you Walk for Reconciliation in the year 2000?
I walked in the Walk for Reconciliation as a natural progression of events I had been involved in over the previous 10 years. I had learnt so much from meeting and listening to leaders and gaining a little understanding of the activism tragically necessary in the lives of First Nations peoples. Many incidents which really impacted on how I thought and responded included:
- I was living next door to Aboriginal accommodation during the Mabo debate. I was regularly woken up at 2 or 3 in the morning by bottles smashing loudly on the footpath and terrifying threats being yelled vindictively from car windows towards the people living in this accommodation. This is something that seared my mind. I knew them as neighbours and visitors to my flat not people to be verbally abused and threatened while they slept. The level of hate expressed was chilling.
- The Silent March across the Victoria Bridge in peaceful and powerful response to the death in custody of Daniel Yock and the dignified manner in which the Aunties met with the wider community each afternoon to tell the story not told in the Courier Mail.
- Getting the courage to walk in the Invasion Day marches.
What has changed in the last 20 years and what are you presently doing for Reconciliation?
I am not sure what has changed… some very important judiciary wins- Mabo/Wik/ Sorry from Federal Parliament/talk of reconciliation. Churches and Christians are overwhelmingly still apathetic and / or hostile. I despair at the lack of real change in the lives of many Indigenous families.
What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?
My vision is that Non Indigenous Christians will care and act personally and politically.
- All Australian families who have more than one house, will give their excess homes to First Australian families.
- All Australian landowners will know what tribes lived and thrived on this land prior to colonization and care about what happened for those families and tribes as they were driven off.
- That non Indigenous property owners will say “ My family has been on this land for 4 generations and prior to this the First Nation clan kept this land.