Be a Voice for Generations: National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week – which runs from 27th May to 3rd June – is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories and cultures, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Its bookend dates commemorate two milestones in the journey towards reconciliation: the successful referendum on the inclusion of Aboriginal people in the Constitution, held on 27th May, 1967; and the High Court Mabo decision on land rights, handed down on 3rd June 1992. This year is also the 30th anniversary of the inaugural Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993, which became Reconciliation Week in 1996.

This year’s theme – Be a Voice for Generations – is an encouragement to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives. Reconciliation Australia’s CEO Karen Mundine says the theme calls on Australians to honour the work of generations past who fought for justice in Australia and to work together today to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation for the generations to come.  

“There has long been a strong thread in Australian history of people striving to build a just society,” she says.  

“Australian history has included many examples of non-First Nations Australians who stood with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during early strikes, protests and notably during the 1967 referendum. This National Reconciliation Week we urge all Australians to follow in this tradition to ‘Be a voice for generations’, while also imagining a better country for future generations.”  

Reconciliation Australia is asking all of us to step up and speak out. To that end, it has compiled a list of 20 actions you can do to help make reconciliation more than a word. This includes calling out racism; moving from being an ally to being an accomplice; knowing your local history; creating culturally safe spaces and much more. Access the whole list here.

The Sax Institute recognises the importance of National Reconciliation Week and is strongly committed to improving Aboriginal health and wellbeing through community-led research. Our collaborations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities empower and support communities in identifying key priorities to achieving better health and wellbeing outcomes through programs and policy. These partnerships are very much at the heart of what we do at the Institute.

Two ongoing projects which illustrate this commitment are the Aboriginal-led CHANGES project on healthy ageing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and experiences of cancer and cancer care, and the ILEAP project to measure the impact of Aboriginal-led health programs. You can read more about these and other collaborations to improve the health of Aboriginal people here.

National Reconciliation Week features a range of events across Australia and online to mark Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. These include a Reconciliation Week lecture with Grace Karskens at St James’ Church in the Sydney CBD and over 500 choirs across the country who will be coming together in song to contribute to reconciliation.

For more on National Reconciliation Week, click here.

For more on the Sax Institute’s collaborations to improve Aboriginal health, click here.

The Sax Institute acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, wherever we are, and Elders past and present.