It was 26th May 2011 and a post, Are We Truly Sorry, was entered into PeakCare’s Practice Blogs about National Sorry Day. Sparked off by racist taunts that appeared on You Tube about a widely acclaimed recording artist and performer – a Torres Strait Islander woman – PeakCare called for our member agencies and others to stand with us in saying that we are sorry and continue to be sorry for the injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the past and that they continue to endure today, as evidenced by the racist diatribes directed towards this famous iconic performer.
What followed was unprecedented! A massive increase in the numbers of people entering comments in reply to our post – people who were prepared to add their voices to our concerns. These people included representatives of other peak bodies, academics, private consultants, the chief executive offices, managers and staff of non-government organisations, child protection practitioners as well as individuals expressing their personal views.
Beyond the comments made in response to the post, PeakCare received verbal and email advice about the post being read, discussed and acknowledged by whole offices and workgroups. For example, an email received from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation noted, “The post was very interesting and great to read. I have passed it on to our Communications Manager here and a number of staff and we have all been very touched by the comments. It also helps build the foundations and understanding of the ongoing issues and our role into the future.”
Pleasingly, PeakCare has received reports of the post and relevant videos that were added to Our Practice Blogs making their way onto the personal Facebook pages and web-sites of other organisations and individuals where it is also commanding high rates of attention. For example, PeakCare was surprised and very pleased to discover that the front page of a school magazine was dedicated to National Sorry Day and incorporated quotes taken from our post.
Sorry Day 2011 is over but the issues continue…
Sorry Day 2011 may be over, but you are urged to keep the issues concerning the increasing rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with our child protection and youth justice systems alive, to sustain our expressions of grave concerns about the social and economic disadvantage that continues to be experienced by far too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities within Queensland and Australia today, and to continue a united effort in “truly listening” (as commented on by Karen in response to our blog post) as we seek and commit to finding solutions.
You are urged to keep viewing the comments being entered in reply to our blog post. If you have not yet entered a comment, do so now. If you have already entered a comment, enter another one – we must keep the conversation going!
By entering your comments, you are providing enormous assistance to PeakCare in making sure that this matter continues to gain the attention it deserves from governments as well as the non-government sector and the general public.
Keep forwarding your opinions and ideas – both about the questions to be asked as well as the answers – and we can talk about them. As noted by Katrina in her response to the post, we have an obligation to seek out and be prepared to ask the “real questions” before we can hope to find the answers.
In staying informed and involved, make sure that you take advantage of the links provided to key initiatives that are currently underway. In particular, as urged by Jill and Paul within their comments to the post, find out about and support the activities of the Combined Voices initiative.
As noted by Lucas, take note of and act upon what young people have to say.
Read, consider and act upon the “Together Keeping Our Children Safe and Well - Our plan for promoting the safety and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and reducing their over-representation within the child protection system” developed by the Task Force commissioned by Mister Phil Reeves and the twelve-month Implementation Plan that has been developed by the Department of Communities in association with the peak bodies – both plans being available from the PeakCare web-site.
Stay tuned to other information that PeakCare will regularly be providing to you about the above initiatives and just wait till you see the things we have planned for Sorry Day 2012!