May 31, 2024

National Reconciliation Week 2024: Now more than ever

Following last year’s Voice to Parliament referendum, Reconciliation Week 2024 is a reminder that now more than ever we must stand up and fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Despite the disheartening outcome of the referendum, we know that the 6.2 million Australians who voted ‘Yes’ are committed to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. But many community members saw the success of the ‘No’ campaign as a sign that ‘reconciliation is dead’. In an interview with the New York Times, Larissa Baldwin Roberts, a Widjabul Wia-bal woman, reflected, ‘Reconciliation only works if you have two parties who are willing to make up after a fight and move on.’

The referendum proved that this Reconciliation Week needs to be about much more than just corporate events and RAP targets. As Sissy Austin writes, it’s a time for non-Indigenous Australians to delve deep and ask ourselves and our organisations, ‘why not more?’ A time to uphold and amplify the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to embrace the principles of self-determination, and to prove we’re willing to do whatever it takes to improve social and emotional wellbeing outcomes for infants, children, families and communities.

We must continue to fight for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: through treaty making and truth-telling and by dismantling the racism that underlies our policies and systems. Now more than ever, we need connection. We need respect. We need action. And we need change.

We also acknowledge that this week may bring up difficult feelings for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Healing Foundation has compiled a list of resources to help you to pause, breathe and connect, and keep your spirit strong.

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