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Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

Mercy Moments Issue 138

NAIDOC Week (3-10July) is a time to celebrate the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have driven and led change in their communities over generations. It is also an opportunity for non-indigenous Australians to join in the celebration by living this year’s theme to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

We all called to be allies and advocates for systemic change for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We need to lend our voices, our profiles and our hearts towards seeing treaties enshrined, racism and injustices called out, inequity abolished, land rights achieved, sacred, cultural and heritage sites protected and Constitutional change realised – and we must do it together!

We are asked to do more than perfunctory acknowledgement, good intentions, hollow promises and unfulfilled commitments. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have waited long enough, they need us to act – NOW!

Indigenous girl holding a sign saying

Anthony Albanese claimed victory in the Federal Election on 21 May 2022, when he began his speech with an Acknowledgment of Country and his full commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and continued with a pledge to bring Australians together, saying he would lead a government “worthy of the people of Australia”.

Albanese declared, “We can answer its [Uluru Statement from the Heart] patient, gracious call for a voice enshrined in our constitution because all of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world.” This now needs to move from a commitment to a reality.

We need to offer support to overcome the disparity (often called “the gap”) and inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non Indigenous Australians.

We need to foster relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non Indigenous Australians based on justice, equity, and the proper recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights.

We need to spread what we have been learning and allow reconciliation to live in our hearts so that others will want to join us and all of Australia can change its heart.

In 2017, Michael Bennett used his profile as a Super Bowl champion to publicly support Black Lives Matter and his wise words have been quoted extensively. When talking about a movement of the heart to unite all people to the Black Lives Matter cause, he said, “Don’t feel guilty. Do something to make it better. Help us heal by standing—or sitting—alongside us” – this is the same cry from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this NAIDOC week – Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

Michael Bennett wisdom continues with these words, “At this point, I think if you’re being silent, you’re making a choice and taking a side.” Let’s stop being silent and use our voices to create change that ensures justice, equity, and the proper recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights.

Reflection

Getting up, standing up and showing up can take many forms – what will you do?