As Australians we have a responsibility to know our past and learn from it. We must learn about and start a journey of understanding so we can move forward together.
One event in our shared history is the 1965 Freedom Ride which sparked change and strengthened future campaigns to end racism including the 1967 Referendum and changes to the Constitution. University of Sydney students were frustrated with the level of racism and the living conditions of Aboriginal people in New South Wales. They embarked on a 15-day bus journey raising awareness of the issues in many rural and regional New South Wales towns which gained attention from national and international audiences. Racism and poor living conditions still exist today.
My grandmother was a member of the Stolen Generation. My mother was not allowed in the pub without her white husband. I have buried too many Countrymen from suicide, preventable health issues and the lower life expectancy compared to other Australians.
In Halls Creek Western Australia- my hometown- it is not uncommon for there to be multiple families or multiple generations living in one house.
I have walked through shopping centers with groups of young Aboriginal people and had shop keepers watch us, follow us even. Racism is still here.
Even just last year, there were many households in the Kimberley that did not receive the Census. So their unique needs were not counted, their voices not heard. Racism and poverty exist here.
So we have much we can learn from the 1965 Freedom Ride.
Racism and poverty exist.
Collectively we can create change.
I stand here today. An Aboriginal man. A father. A son. An author.
And I say- no to racism.
I say- see us, here us and work with us to create change.
Resources about the 1965 Freedom Ride:
The anniversary of the 1965 Freedom Ride is the 12th February- let’s make this year one the original Freedom Riders would be proud of.
#1965 #FreedomRide #AboriginalHistory