Allanah Lucas Commissioner for Equal Opportunity spoke on the importance of commemorating this day saying, “We do this in remembrance of the forced taking of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to be brought up in institutions, or adopted into non Aboriginal families from the 1800s to the 1970s.
“This is not a history that is long past; it is our recent history and our present: we live in our communities and work side by side with people who were taken as little children.
“We are reminded on this day of the impact on those children, their parents, families, and communities, and what this means to all Australians.
“It is a shameful reminder of beliefs and attitudes that cause much pain, though the popular thought then was that the children taken away would be offered a better life.”
Ms Lucas made the comment that those policies are thankfully gone, and that many positive changes have been made.
However she said, “The ugly head of racial discriminatory behaviour and racial harassment is present and Aboriginal people often face the brunt of this.
Of the number of complaints received at the Equal Opportunity Commission from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 67% were lodged on the grounds of race discrimination and racial harassment.
“However, we know that but many do not complain or seek redress.
“We see and hear racist behaviour in the racial slurs shouted to our top footballers.
“Adam Goodes, an Australian of the Year is speaking out about this and leading others to do so too.
“This will help raise the awareness of all Australians and assist in making our country a better place to live.”
Reconciliation week May 27 to June 3, is about our present and the future, building our relationships and acknowledging our cultural diversity, and it marks two major historical events to celebrate the 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision.
Ms Lucas encourages all people to take the time to recognise these important dates in our calendar and to speak out against race discrimination or racial harassment whenever they see or hear it.
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FOR ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Public Affairs Officer, Colleen Mack
(08) 9216 3911 mob 0437 213 837
Level 2, 141 St Georges Terrace, Western Australia 6000 - Tel: (08) 9216 3900 –Fax: (08) 9216 3960
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.eoc.wa.gov.au