It is now over three years since the federal government was presented – and rejected – The Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Headed by Thomas Mayor, the Statement was the result of the hard work of many Indigenous leaders, and calls for truth, treaty and most importantly, a voice that speaks directly to parliament, and is not bound to the government of the day.
Once enshrined in the Australian Constitution, the truth telling can continue and the treaty making can begin.
On Saturday July 25, Byron Bay residents launched a local support group for the Uluru Statement, under the umbrella of the Northern Rivers supporting group.
If Black Lives Matter, surely we should all support the adoption of this plea to the Australian people.
We had nearly 5,000 people in this area turn out for the Black Lives Matter march.
Can we expect some of you to also support the Uluru Statement from the Heart?
Saturday’s event was held in Byron’s Anglican Church, and with limited numbers owing to COVID-19 restrictions, we were joined by others on Zoom. Thomas Mayor addressed the gathering.
Since the presentation of the Uluru Statement on 26 May, 2017, Thomas has been travelling Australia talking about what this means, not only for Indigenous Australians, but more broadly about how important it is for this country to be able to move forward and heal. He has also written a book on the subject: Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey towards Voice, Treaty and Truth.
Thomas graciously spoke to our small group for nearly an hour and answered several questions by members. He has twice visited and spoken in our area, and he encourages us to take initiative and to take action at all levels, big and small. He said, ‘We need our supporters to take the time and have the courage to have conversations with the unconverted. Help us build this movement’.
Thomas mentioned that in the near future, there would be an opportunity to take a short online advocacy course to develop skills to teach people how to tell stories, promote awareness, and advice on how to handle objections.
This is important, as when the time is right, a referendum will be held, and the more aware people are of this Indigenous issue, the better.
Through its adoption, we stand to gain many thousands of years of wisdom, learning the truth, and sharing our cultures in the future of this great country.
To read The Uluru Statement From The Heart, visit www.1voiceuluru.org. To register your involvement in the Byron Bay support group, please email [email protected]
♦ Jay Pearse is a local co-organiser of the Byron Bay support group for the Uluru Statement of the Heart.