Three Perth women walk to Canberra against racism

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Three Perth women walk to Canberra against racism

Media Release
Friday July 7 2006, 7:55 WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

(On behalf of "Women in Black" Perth)

Three women well into their sixties and seventies are setting off next week Tuesday from Perth in Western Australia to cross the Nullarbor on foot and deliver to Canberra's Federal Government seat the message that Australia needs to heal and complete its journey with Australian Indigenous people, and they will call upon the Prime Minister to curb entrenched racism in Australian society.

A departure ceremony is scheduled for 1pm on Tuesday 11 July, at the corner of William and Hay Streets in Perth, the usual location of the group's weekly vigil in front of Wesley Cathedral.

The three women, Jane Paterson (70), Kathryn Newmar (62) and Pam Morris (74) will be "armed" with both completed and blank petition sheets - to be completed by locals they will meet along their stops in towns and villages on the way to the ACT - urging the Federal Government to implement "wise, respectful and compassionate policies" that curb "overt and covert racism" also through media advertising, and that include a revision of educational textbooks to include information about Aboriginal Culture and what they call the "true history of persecution, slaughter and enslavement of Indigenous people following the white invasion".

Spokeswoman Pam Morris comments that this journey is not on behalf of Aboriginal people, but a representation of white people who recognise that most of the dire circumstances of Australian Indigenous people can only be understood by opening up to the context of the white invasion, and the attitude of the invasion of Indigenous culture by white people.

"Millions of dollars are wasted unless we address at its core the roots of disparity between Aboriginal and white people, a result of white supremacy attitudes that is still on display in Australia and reflected even in recently announced policy frameworks of the Federal government," says Ms Morris.

"If we talk about the journey of healing, then we need to start by healing our own attitudes and abandon supremacy, say sorry and we need a more compassionate and caring approach to Indigenous people," Ms Morris continued.

For more information:

Pam Morris
Women in Black
[phone number posted]

Jane Paterson
Women in Black
[phone number posted]

Kathryn Newmar
Women in Black
[phone number posted]

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

Women in Black website: http://www.isis.aust.com/wib/perth/

An Open Letter to All Australians

HEALING THE WOUNDS

Dear Friends,

We write this letter to you all from the depths of our hearts. We ask only that you read it with an open mind.

There is a wound in the spirit of this lovely country, and it cannot be healed until we White Australians face the reality that WE are the cause of much of the despair and misery which is the life-long sentence of many Aboriginal Australians today. The cause of this wound is racism - the culture of white arrogance that assumes our innate superiority over indigenous people.

Many of you will agree with this truth and support our efforts to bring it to public awareness - but many more will vehemently deny it, and oppose what we are trying to do. We have no wish to stir up contention - our desire is only to heal our land and our people, and to help create a society where all people walk proudly and confidently without fear, and live together in harmony, with mutual respect.

There is much that must be done on a practical level to enable Indigenous Australians to enjoy the quality of life that most white people take for granted. But it is our belief that this can never be achieved until those of us who make up the dominant culture of Australia are willing to take the painful journey of facing the truth of our often unconscious racist attitudes -attitudes which underscore the policies and actions adopted by authorities in addressing Aboriginal issues, and have resulted in the oppression and degradation of Aboriginal people since the British invaded this land more than 200 years ago - attitudes that prevail to this day.

Racism is an insidious evil, sneaking its way into our daily lives in ways we often don't recognise. We have to be taught - our awareness must be raised - before we can acknowledge that what we may have thought were kindly attitudes are revealed as patronising, and that feeling "sorry for" Indigenous people is often demeaning. It is not enough to care - we must also learn to understand.

There are steps we can and must take to address the evil of racism in Australia. This is not a process of blaming others, of finding fault or passing judgement. The first and vital and probably the hardest step we must take is to face the truth of what has been done to the original and rightful occupiers of this land. Only then may we look at what we can do to make reparation, to redress the wrongs, the injustices, the persecution, the suffering endured by Indigenous people for generations, that are the natural outcome of our belief in White supremacy. And only then will there be healing for this wounded land.

We earnestly and humbly ask you to take the first steps of this painful journey with us, that we may learn together as we seek a better way - a way that brings unity not division - a way in which all of us, black and white, may walk together and embrace each other in a common cause.

Racism degrades us as a people. There is no "us and them". We are all in this together. It can be done - it is up to us.

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