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What’s My Part in the Journey?

Do you know how important you are in the Australians Together Journey? Many of us are unaware of the part we play and value we bring to each other.

We’re All Connected

 

Did you know there are almost 24 million people living in Australia? Although we don’t personally know each other, we’re all connected by our shared economy, government, anthem, flag, history and the land we live on. We also share in many benefits that come with living in a wealthy and successful nation. But sometimes we forget that we enjoy these benefits because Indigenous Australians were displaced from their lands. And many Indigenous people are still suffering the consequences of this history. So as people living on land that was taken from Indigenous people, we are connected to the pain of the past and its present consequences. Understanding how we all fit into this story is the beginning of setting things right for the future. So you might be thinking, “Where do I fit in?”

It’s not my responsibility, I’m not part of the problem

Chances are, you’re a good person. We’re all mostly good people. And yet, we live in a society that holds some people back, while allowing others a head start. Due to factors that we have no control over, some of us are more likely to receive an education, to gain employment and avoid encounters with the criminal justice system. The fact that society operates in this way is not your fault. You never asked for special treatment. In fact, if you experience these kinds of privileges, you’re probably completely unaware of it. Again, this isn’t your fault. For you, your experience is simply the norm. But, if we become aware of the unjust way that society treats some people, and we choose to use the opportunities we’ve been given to do something about it, we then become part of the solution.

It’s not my responsibility, my ancestors weren’t even here during the colonisation of Australia

 

Nearly 1 in 2 Australians were born overseas, or have a parent who was born overseas. But whether you just moved here, or your family has lived in Australia for generations, we’re all living on land that has been taken from Indigenous Australians. We’re benefiting from an arrangement that has disadvantaged many Indigenous people. And we’re part of a system that oppresses Indigenous people. This means that resolving past injustices is relevant to every person living in Australia, no matter what your background is.

It’s not my responsibility, I shouldn’t be accountable for something my ancestors did hundreds of years ago

 

You’re absolutely right, you shouldn’t be held responsible for another person’s actions. And we’re not placing blame or trying to elicit guilt. But it’s really important for everybody to be aware that the actions of those early settlers are directly linked to Indigenous disadvantage today. Simply acknowledging these past events and injustices is a powerful way that we can all contribute to healing.

It’s not my responsibility, it’s up to the government to fix things

 

It’s true that the government has a big role to play in overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. But one of the great things about Australia is that we each have a say in the decisions the government makes on our behalf. The more we let our governments know that we care about Indigenous people, the more time and attention governments will give to Indigenous people. But it’s not just up to government. There are many simple ways that you can personally contribute to changing the future for Indigenous people. One of the simplest ways is listening and learning from others and reflecting on your own situation, culture and attitudes. Ask yourself, does my culture allow room for other ways of thinking and being? How can I make more space for Indigenous people to express their culture and have a louder voice in our society?

It’s not my responsibility, I don’t even know any Indigenous people

That could well be the case. It’s also entirely possible that you do know someone who identifies as Indigenous and you’re not aware of it - you can’t always know just from looking at a person. But whether or not you personally know any Indigenous people, you can still be part of ensuring that all Indigenous Australians have a better future in this nation. And you don’t have to go remote. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere! One of the best things you can do is start by understanding that we’re all connected; that Indigenous injustice is an issue for all Australians to overcome; that listening and learning is crucial to moving forward; and that no action or changed attitude is too small or insignificant. 

We’re all part of the solution

Australians Together isn’t just about literal encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It’s about understanding that we’re all connected, acknowledging that we have a shared history and embracing our part in creating a better future. It involves finding ways to value each other and creating space to learn from one another. Recognising that we each have a part to play in this is an important first step.

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