AUSTRALIAN NAIDOC WEEK, 2020: ALWAYS WAS ALWAYS WILL BE
“We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.”
We’re celebrating NAIDOC Week at Quay, and honoring Australia’s Aboriginal + Torres Strait Islander Peoples with our COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS series with a short Q/A featuring Sky Thomas, a Gunnai/Kurnai, Yorta yorta, and Wiradjuri Woman.
The belief that COMMUNITY IS QUAY and that all people—regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or creed—deserve respect, opportunity, and love is central to everything that we do at Quay. We are nothing without the unique, diverse group of individuals internally + externally who have allowed us success over the years.
Q/A ft @SOJU_GANG
Q: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR STORY?
A: I’m Soju Gang—I’m a proud Gunnai/Kurnai, Yorta Yorta, and Wiradjuri woman, and I’m known for being a DJ, designer, and all-around creative here in Melbourne [Australia].
Q: WHAT DOES NAIDOC WEEK MEAN TO YOU?
A: What NAIDOC means to me is our community coming together to not only reflect on the journey our people have been on but also to celebrate who we are and where we’ve come from as well.
We’ve faced so much adversity since colonization, so much injustice and pain and oppression and genocide—some of which we still face today. But to have time to reflect on our determination, our strength, our love, our talent, and our achievements is so important.
Q: WHAT DOES THIS YEAR’S THEME ‘ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE’ CONJURE FOR YOU?
A: We have a history [in Australia]. This country has tried to erase us, both from the history books and from the face of the Earth. So, for us to say ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ is saying that we’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.
Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT OTHERS TO KNOW ABOUT NAIDOC WEEK?
A: What I want people to know about NAIDOC Week is to understand where it comes from and the history it holds within it. It came from our people marching for their rights on Day of Mourning, which is what others consider Australia Day, and it was about this country acknowledging the history that is here but to also ask for our rights as human beings. So, from a time of pain that we’ve come from, to find the time and create that space for our people to celebrate ourselves is important and should be something that everyone in this country takes part in.
Change the Record
Change the Record is Australia’s only national Aboriginal led justice coalition of Aboriginal peak bodies and non-Indigenous allies. They work to end the incarceration of, and family violence against, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal Literacy Foundation
The priority of Australia’s Aboriginal Literacy Foundation is to provide ongoing literacy programs and opportunities for Indigenous young people through education and community-based initiatives.
Koorie Youth Council
The Koorie Youth Council (KYC) advocates for the advancing of rights and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to Australian government and communities.
The Healing Foundation
The Healing Foundation is an Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organization that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families.
Common Ground is an Aboriginal-led organization that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia to capture and share stories, and create learning material for wider Australia.
ANTaR is an Australian advocacy organisation dedicated specifically to the rights—and overcoming the disadvantage of— Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people primarily through lobbying, public campaigns, and advocacy.
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