More than a word - National Reconciliation Week 2021

We all have a role to play when it comes to building relationships and communities that value First Nations peoples, histories, cultures, and futures. Cath Brokenborough shares her thoughts on this year’s theme.

  • 28 May 2021
  • by
  • Cath Brokenborough

The 2021 theme, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and impactful action.

This year marks almost three decades of the Australian reconciliation process where we have seen support for reconciliation continue to grow and know that there is a far greater awareness amongst many more Australians of the complexity and magnitude of First Nations cultures and knowledges and the brutal impact that British colonialism and the modern Australian state have had on First Nations families and communities.

For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truth-telling, and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of First Nations peoples are ignored, denied or reduced.

Reconciliation is achievable where people speak up, ask the hard questions, see the hard facts, and inform themselves about issues affecting First Nations peoples – but only where actions that drive change results from this knowledge and introspection.

So, the 2021 theme calls on all of us to both reflect on our own contributions, but more importantly to strive to do more. Below are some ways you can make a personal difference by choosing to act on reconciliation.

Drive support for Uluru Statement from the Heart

It’s time for a First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Constitution. For the past nine years Lendlease has publicly supported constitutional reform. In 2019, Lendlease Group CEO and Managing Director Steve McCann said: “we have an obligation to respond to the invitation issued by the First Nations Convention to engage with them on the Uluru Statement from the Heart”

You can play a personal role in helping to spread this message of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and encourage other Australians to accept the invitation to walk together for a better future by establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making (treaty) and truth-telling. There are several resources you can access and share to help make this happen.

Actions You Can Take:

Continue your learning. Understand why constitutional recognition is important to not just First Nations, but all Australian peoples and read or listen to the Uluru Statement.

View the Uluru Statement from the Heart Instagram Live series. The series features short conversations with Uluru Dialogue members and prominent members of the Australian community discussing their own community advocacy and support for the Uluru Statement - featured special guests Sally Scales, Brooke Blurton, Beryl Friday and Craig Foster.

Download the Supporter Kit, it has everything you need to make a submission in support of a First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Constitution - share it with your friends, colleagues, and family.

Use the Supporter Kit to start your own Community Action campaign. Advocate for formal support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in your own local communities to educate them about an enshrined Voice to Parliament and a referendum on the issue. (You can contact the Indigenous Law Centre at UNSW (ilc@unsw.edu.au) if you would like assistance in organising a community event and speakers). Please keep voicing your support and encourage your networks to do the same. You can do this by following Uluru Statement from the Heart on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stay engaged. Change will not be brought about from one day of action in National Reconciliation Week, our actions must extend from today and into our everyday lives. There are many things you can do as part of your everyday duties at work that will help Lendlease drive reconciliation.

Learn more about the #NRW2021 theme, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.