HOW THEY USING THEIR VOICES TO INFLUENCE OUR SOCIETY
By Elina Banerji
On Wednesday, 17th June Year 7 was fortunate to be part of a Q & A session with some of the senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are an integral part of our Loreto community. These students volunteered to speak to our year group to provide insight into their unique culture and experiences.
The students’ strong community leadership was evident through their thoughtful answers to all of our questions. In addition, they expressed their perspective on the discriminatory treatment that our First Nations people face on a regular basis, such as unfair assumptions, stereotypes and ‘casual racism’ that is embedded for example by hurtful remarks in our society.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students demonstrated their kindness, providing great insight that improved the understanding of the audience through open discussion and education. I admired their honesty and fortitude, because even when faced with hardships and adversity, they were determined and resolute, both mentally and emotionally. For instance, when asked “have you ever questioned your Aboriginality?” Maria Treacy replied, “I definitely have, usually after moments when I have experienced racism or been followed in supermarkets, as well as much more”. I found this to be confronting. One thing that was common in all the speaker was that their culture was who they were and who they were always going to be, and this was something that they were very proud of.
This presentation emphasised that we all have a responsibility to be supportive, caring, and respectful towards each other so that we can create a world of harmony and equanimity. Thank you to Maria Stevenson, Maria Treacy, Polly Canty, Shayarnee Burns, Tyra Prince and Jess Abraham for using your leadership to inspire and educate our year and others about the culture, beliefs, and important understanding of our First Nations people.