National Sorry Day is a day of remembrance commemoration and acknowledgment of the mistreatment and injustices of forcibly removing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families in Australia. These children are now known as the ‘Stolen Generations’. It’s a day to say Sorry as a nation for What has happened, acknowledge the flow on effects it has caused, and compassionately listen to those affected on what they need from the wider Australian community to support their healing, redressing, and reconciliation as a whole.
To mark the significance of National Sorry Day, to address some of the misunderstandings about this day, and to share what you can do on this day, I hosted a FB LIVE on it this morning. Here’s the recording:
What actions you can take on National Sorry Day
While it is respectful to reflect, observe and commemorate Sorry Day from within, unfortunately that alone will not support the changes needed for healing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community or reconciliation. Action must be done in a social manner (meaning with other humans) to bring about positive social change. Something that can get you started is this action list I created for you. Please note, it’s not an exhaustive list, it’s something that can stimulate and support you in knowing what actions you can begin with.
1- Bringing Them Home Report
One of the first things you can do is read the Bringing Them Home Report. This report was tabled in parliament in 1997 after a government inquiry into the removal of children. 54 recommendations were made to redress the mistreatment and injustice. The first National Sorry Day was observed the following year. While there are recommendations readily available for the Government to act on, 24-years later, most of them have not been actioned. You can also:
- Share the Bringing Them Home Report and your support for action to be taken to fulfill the recommendations.
- Watch this video by the Australian Rights Commission on the Bringing them Home Report. This is a MUST WATCH!
2- Listen to Stolen Generations stories and voices
Seek out and listen to the voices and stories of the Stolen Generations and those families affected by the forceful removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
*Please make sure you are only sharing the stories that the Stolen Generations and their families share openly and publicly.
* Please also make sure you are amplifying the story or the voice directly and not resharing it in your own words.
One story that I have come across is Aunty Sheila Humphries story.
There is also this video on Stolen Generations you can watch and share.
Something that everyone with an account on social media can do is Acknowledge and commemorate Sorry Day on your social media. Acknowledge the significance this day, condemn, the actions of the past, and support healing. What you can also do is:
- Change your profile pictures to ones that acknowledge Sorry Day like the one I did today. If you’re not sure how to do it on Facebook, I created a step-by-step post on how to do it. Click here or the image above to view that post.
- You can amplify the stories and voices of Stolen Generations people and their families by hitting the share button on social media. Again, make sure these stories have been shared with the intent of them being made public.
- When you see other posts of people honouring the importance of Sorry Day, support those posts with reactions and comments.
4- Using your voice
In spaces where numbers make the difference, it’s an opportunity to use your voice in a way that supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and reconciliation. You’ve listen to the stories and voices of the Stolen Generations & their families, and now you can echo their calls for action. You can:
- Write to your member of parliament (or all of them) and express your support for the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report and for the government to take action in a better, more pro-active way towards fulfilling and/or competing the 54 recommendations outlined in the report. (You can find your local member and how to contact them here)
- Write to your local Councilors and express your support for you council to Acknowledge National Sorry Day in some what through your local community.
- Talk with you workplace about Acknowledging Sorry Day. Consider sharing and having conversations about its significance in the lead up to the day. You may even suggest holding a minute silence out of respect.
5- Have the conversation
Don’t underestimate the power of conversation. Talk about it with friends, family and colleagues. Talk about it on social media and around your dinner table. Hiding what has happened and avoiding the fact that it’s still having massive impacts within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the Australian community as a whole. Is. Not. Working!
Turning away from it and putting it in the “too-hard-basket”, isn’t changing a thing.
Yes, listening to the stories may be confronting.
Yes, having these conversations may be hard.
Yes, taking action means the contribution of some of your time and energy.
But what’s the alternative? It’s a broken nation playing the pretend game of reconciliation. That’s what.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children dealing with the impacts of social problems that we refused to deal with.
Are you with me?
P.S. In my LIVE video I spoke about the 5x Acknowledgment of Country educational video series I created, you will find them in the video section of this website. Click here.
I also talk about the Acknowledgment of Country Masterclass for anyone wanting to write a meaningful and impactful Acknowledgment of Country for their business. You can find out more about the Masterclass here.