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Tips on what we can all do to make our country a better on this important day

13 February 2018

Hi everyone,

Apology anniversary and what you can do to make our country better

Today is the 10th anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s national apology to the Stolen Generations – a significant day in the recent history of Australia. We’ve also just seen the latest report on Closing The Gap, which highlights that there’s still a lot that needs to be done. We must all strive for a better future for Indigenous peoples.

At the time of the apology, it seemed like the whole country stopped – schools, businesses, communities. I was at Lonely Planet and we all gathered to watch the speech on a big screen. We found it very emotional.

Jenny Brown, our National Lead Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement - Community Programs, says for her the apology was a heartfelt moment. “I remember exactly where I was on the day and who I was with. It was exactly like the Cathy Freeman 400 metres or the Paul Keating Redfern speech … There were a lot of emotional people around me.” 

As we mark this anniversary I want to share with you Jenny’s thoughts, and those of Michael White, Co-Chair of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Group, on what people can do right now to make our country a better place.

Jenny says wherever you live, go and find out the history of that community. “Whether it’s a town city, suburb, go find out what the history was. What is the connection of First Nations people to that place that you’re living in? Get some appreciation for that.”

Michael says if you haven’t spoken to an Aboriginal person, go do that. “Whether it’s over a coffee, or it’s your friend, or a friend you don’t know you have yet. But have a conversation about what it means for them in this country.”

I think that’s some great advice.

Daly River update

This week we begun supporting hundreds of Daly River residents to return home after major flooding forced the entire community to evacuate. For nearly two weeks, many of them have been living at an evacuation centre in Darwin.

Imagine if your entire community had to evacuate because of an emergency? It must a hugely stressful experience.

“The Daly River community have been shaken, but this is not the first time they have dealt with an event like this,” says National Operations Manager, Simon Rickard. “We will walk alongside them, offering personal and practical support in the journey ahead.”

Snapshot from the field

I always love to see photos of our team in action. This one is from the remote Dampier Peninsula, in far north Western Australia.

Last week our Kimberley Regional Manager, Loretta Bin Omar, helped organised emergency relief supplies for the Howard family. They were stranded in what Loretta says is the biggest wet since 1979 – and had run out of food and fuel. The only way to get in was by helicopter.

This is the family with Sammy Wyborn, one of our program officers from Broome, who with the help of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and SES, flew in with supplies.

“We landed on the beach where the family greeted us with great big smiles, appreciation and thanks,” says Sammy. “The children were so happy to see a chopper land on their beach, they said it was so cool.”

Our drop off and the Howard's plight was covered by TV network GWN7.

Red Cross Calling

Finally, for Red Cross Calling this year I’ve decided what my digital challenge will be to my friends.  I’m going to wear skirts and dresses for a month (except for when I am doing Pilates).

My friends will know what a challenge this is for me, especially on the weekend because I'm so comfortable in trousers, shorts, jeans. Hopefully, it will be enough to inspire them to donate to my fundraising efforts. I’ll need to visit the nearest Red Cross shop to stock up on a few items. l will also sign up to fundraise in my street which luckily is a long one.