The National Apology anniversary – Reflections from the sector

The National Apology anniversary
Published on February 15, 2021

Why the Anniversary of the National Apology is different in 2021

By Sammy Cooper, a proud Gumbaynggirr woman and CLCQ Sector Sustainability Coordinator

The anniversary of the National Apology is a sacred day on the calendar year, and I pay special thanks on this day for the generations who fought for so long for this moment. This historic acknowledgement of the wrongs that were done was a significant step towards actual reconciliation.

Certainly not a solution, it was not part of the ‘fix’, it was, however, significant. In 2021 with the wake of the global Black Lives Matter campaign that started a much needed conversation, paying my deepest respect to those who fought so hard for the Apology – I ask you to consider the next steps.

As quickly as organisations plastered ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign statements and materials with their branding and on their media platforms, I ask you to follow up with what else you’re doing. What have you done since?

Publicly, and proudly announce your updates on the actionable commitments your organisation has done or will do; and what have been your measurable successes? What will they be?

Black lives still matter, what else have you done since, and what are you going to do?

Reflective piece on The National Apology and ‘The People’s Walk for Reconciliation’ across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May 2000

By Bino Toby, Case Management Practice Manager and Cultural Advice Manager QIFVLS

We waited, and waited, and waited that Sunday afternoon in May 2000 like the rest of the 250,000 plus people who walked across the bridge with me that day. We all waited for that Apology from John Howard. It never came, despite the ground swell in sentiment. I was with two non-Indigenous friends, in-between them with an Aboriginal Flag and an Australian Flag on our backs. It was a day to remember, an uplifting day walking besides them and old white people of Sydney who never go to the city. Some on wheelie walkies. They just had to get on a train and go to the city. Some were doing it then getting the train back across the bridge to do it again.

My chest was hurting, I was trying to be stoic but my friends were overjoyed and proud of themselves, I sobbed inside and laughed with them. I will always think of them at this time of the Anniversary of the National Apology.

These are the Australians that matter, if only we could keep this going, but optimistic as seeing small changes. Nothing could ever go back to where it was. Change the Date.

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