As a group which is predominantly white, we are currently focusing on listening to Black and Aboriginal voices. However, we also took some time to reflect on what we have learnt and what reconciliation means to us.
Reconciliation is a chance to stand together and reflect on where we are as a country and how far we still have to go. On an individual level, it makes me grateful for what I have but also remorseful at how my privilege came to be and the history and modern impact of colonisation. What gives me hope though, is seeing individuals, groups and communities coming together to celebrate the Aboriginal people in their communities and showing commitment to reconciliation.
For me, reconciliation is when communities can come together and feel united in creating a better future for our nation. This needs to involve the Aboriginal community leading the change and governments adopting plans created by the community, for the community, instead of what white people think is best (as it has been since we arrived).
I would like to see white Australians better educated not just on colonial history but on the fascinating and multi-faceted history that came before then. I would like to see less Aboriginal people in custody, less Aboriginal people living in poverty, less Aboriginal people isolated and feeling that they do not have bright futures in Australia. The British called this a land of opportunity and it should be equal opportunity for all, especially for those who owned the land first and never ceded sovereignty.
When I think of reconciliation, I think about realigning two groups to a common goal. It's about overcoming boundaries and understanding mutual perspectives to create something greater than the sum of all the groups combined.
There is also an element of fault in reconciliation; it assumes a difference between groups, and it implies steps are to be taken before these groups can be together properly. But reconciliation is also aspirational: it means that no matter the difficulty, we can overcome these challenges to reach our lofty goal.
Reconciliation is about truly acknowledging the past and reflecting on how far we have come as an individual, organisation or as a community in trying to bridge the gap between Aboriginals and other Australians. It is a constant reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done for Aboriginal rights and equality, and Reconciliation is a way to educate ourselves about this and try to do our part to move forward together.
Reconciliation means to me a chance to engage and reflect on the importance of Indigenous Australians and how their culture is deserving of respect and preservation. I'd like to see that the date of Australia Day is moved and that over time we can close the gap as much as possible, and work towards a more united, less divided future!
To all black and Indigenous Australians: we see you, we hear you, we support you. We are in this together.