Confronting the truth this Reconciliation Week 2019

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Grounded in Truth. Walk Together with Courage.

This would be an ideal motto for humankind; a foundation for relationships centred in honesty, bravery and true connection.

How fitting, then, that this statement is this year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week.

Reconciliation can only be achieved if there is trust. And trust requires the courage to have an honest, open conversation about our history.

The video above shares these wise words, “In understanding each other’s stories, we all grow”.

The journey to understanding will be different for everyone, and we will all be at different points in that understanding. So this year, in National Reconciliation Week, I invite you to take some steps in your own personal journey.

I know some people can be a little apprehensive at first and are not really sure where to start. I remember my own journey to understanding being tentative, and at times a little confronting. To make it easier, Reconciliation Australia has provided lists of recommended viewing and reading on their website, as well as their YouTube channel.

For me, I can recall the early impact of seeing the Phillip Noyce movie ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’, and of reading the book ‘My Place’ by Sally Morgan. More recently I enjoyed the diversity of contemporary voices in the Anita Heiss anthology ‘Growing up in Australia’, and I was given a glimpse into the meaning of connection to country in the recent Miranda Tapsell movie ‘Top End Wedding’.

I encourage you to reach out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in your areas, to attend cultural events, and to talk to your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends and colleagues. Let’s share the truth and let’s walk together, unified and with courage, toward a reconciled future.

Two years ago, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reached out to the people of Australia with the Uluru Statement from the Heart, providing Australia with a clear way forward to deliver reconciliation. This week, we reiterate our call to the newly elected Morrison Government to be courageous and bring together the 46th Parliament to bring the Uluru Statement to life and put an end to the inaction that has plagued reconciliation for so many years.

To honour Reconciliation Week, Samaritans will be hosting and supporting a number of Sea of Hands events across our regions. Events will be held in Newcastle, Taree and Mudgee, and I was fortunate to attend an event at St Luke’s Wallsend yesterday.

Author: Samaritans CEO, Brad Webb.

Tweet from @bradjameswebb with photo of hands planted at Wallsend Anglican Church.