I woke up heavy of spirit today.
In my news feeds, horrific stories of invasion; rape, stolen children, stolen land, families torn apart, destruction of culture, genocide. Unspeakable atrocities carried out upon the Indigenous ancestors of our country. A country where most of us take for granted the freedom and privilege of which we live, with little regard for blood spilled upon the soil we stand upon and call our own.
I cannot claim to understand the pain, suffering and grief of the generations that have come before. But I understand invasion. I understand what it is to have everything taken from you without consent. I understand how it feels to suffer at the hands of privilege and power. To have no-one there to protect you; or worse, have those who should have protected you instead choose not to. I know what it is to be left without a home, or family. To be rooted in a history of shame and be handed down only the weight of generational trauma to carry in weary hands. I understand what it is to grieve for that which you can never get back; what a lifetime of grief can do to a person.
Which is to say, today I grieve with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and want to help carry the weight of the grief held in these hands. I acknowledge the suffering of our First Nations people. I seek to understand and recognise the ways white privilege caused, and continues to cause, division and destruction. I seek to learn more and do better that healing and reconciliation may be seen in our country.
In saying this, I cannot deny I am a proud Australian, nor do I want to be afraid of speaking this truth. I am not proud of the actions of my white ancestors. I am not proud of the way we, as a nation, have treated our Indigenous. I am not proud of the way we have always handled things. But I am proud of the way we are learning how to listen and validate the suffering of our First Nations people. That we continue to try and educate ourselves on how this suffering still affects our Indigenous people today. That we acknowledge today is not a day of celebration but one of mourning. That we seek change and compromise to find a date that will no longer divide but bring inclusion to ALL Australians.
Because to me, this is what it means to be a proud Australian. That no matter our heritage, our history, our colour or race, we will never stop fighting to do better x
(Link to full poem here – https://youtu.be/QwGhU-dRJVQ)