Residents encouraged to Be Brave and Make Change

May 19, 2022 BY

Left to right: Nakia, Geelong One Fire's secretary Matthia Dempsey with son Mischa, Kurnai Wotjobaluk man Norm Stanley, event coordinator Nikki McKenzie holding son Djalu and Luka at Johnstone Park. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

RESIDENTS will have the opportunity to listen, learn and build reconciliation in Johnstone Park this Sunday.

Reconciliation in the Park is back for its 13th year and features as a major National Reconciliation Week event.

This year’s theme is ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’, putting forth a challenge to all non-Indigenous Australians to be brave and tackle the ongoing challenge of reconciliation every day.

“The main objective to this event is to bring First Nations people and people of the wider diverse community together for a day of learning and celebrating of Our (First Nations People) rich culture,” event coordinator and Wadawurrung woman Nikki McKenzie said.

“People should attend because they have a genuine interest in accepting the true history of First Nations people and becoming the change.”

Johnstone Park will be lined with free cultural activities, market stalls, music, food, and barbecue setting the stage for an inviting and inclusive event for all from 10am to 3pm.

People attending the event will also have the opportunity to purchase top-quality artwork created by local Aboriginal artists.

Geelong One Fire secretary Matthia Dempsey, who is non-indigenous, said it is important to remember what National Reconciliation is about and how much further is to do.

“My interpretation of ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’ is really that it is directed to me and other Australians who are not First Nations – that the work of reconciliation needs to be taken up by us, instead of falling on the shoulders of First Nations people,” Ms Dempsey said.

“This work often involves being deeply uncomfortable, having difficult conversations and taking action that comes from listening and reflection but that isn’,t necessarily the easy thing to do.

“So, taking action to right the wrongs on this continent means being brave in that context.”

Reconciliation at the Park Geelong is taking place on Sunday, May 22, however, National Reconciliation Week will take place between May 27 and June 3, the dates remembering the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.