Author visits Central QLD Goodstart services to share stories and support Yes vote
Goodstart Gladstone – Toolooa Street and Goodstart Bundaberg – Takalvan Street recently received a visit from Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man, author and Yes23 spokesperson Thomas Mayo, who shared his book Finding Our Heart with the children.
Mr Mayo’s work, illustrated by Blak Douglas, is a children’s story explaining the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and copies were recently gifted to all 660 Goodstart centres nationwide thanks to generous donors, including Australian Unity.
Fellow Yes23 spokesperson Jade Appo-Ritchie, from the Bunda Clan of the Gooreng Gooreng Nation, is joining Mr Mayo on his road trip throughout Central Queensland, hosting events in local communities. The events aim to give Australians an opportunity to learn more and get involved in the conversation surrounding the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum and recognition of First Nations people in the constitution.
“I often see that children have an innate understanding of what makes us unique as Australians, they recognise and know it is our 60,000 year old Indigenous cultural heritage. They are keenly aware of how special it is,” Mr Mayo said, communicating his excitement at being asked to share his story.
“These are the moments that keep me going on the campaign trail,” he said. “To see how optimistic and curious these kids are, gives me enormous encouragement for how our future generations continue to be the heart of our nation.”
“On a campaign that’s often filled with lots of events and conversations, to be able to have this different conversation in Gladstone is refreshing and motivates me to continue with my work to unite our country and make it a better place for all.”
Australian Unity was inspired to get behind the initiative and put books in the hands of Goodstart services around the country, said Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rohan Mead.
“In its earlier years, Australian Unity played a substantial role in shaping the form that the Australian nation took from Federation in 1901,” he explained.
“The thinking and perspectives that informed those actions have changed very substantially since that time – new sensibilities and improved understandings have developed in the 60,000+ years of civilisation that was almost entirely displaced and forever affected by the arrival of European society and then global populations.”
“As modern Australia considers a referendum to adjust its Constitution – to acknowledge the civilisation that proceeded it and to permanently consecrate a mechanism for that voice to be heard through the generations – Australian Unity is proud to support the publication of this book, which seeks to deepen the understanding about Australia’s first peoples.”
Earlier this month, Goodstart announced support for a Yes Vote on the referendum on the recognition of First Nations Australians in the Constitution and a Voice to Parliament.
“We’ve been invited as a nation, to unify and to recognise First Nations people and for the first time, give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians a say, a ‘Voice’ in the decisions being made about them. Goodstart has answered the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart with a resounding yes,” said Goodstart CEO Dr Ros Baxter.
Read the full Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) partner joint statement here in support of a Voice to Parliament and a “yes” vote in the Referendum. Download a fact sheet about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum here.
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