Head of Senior School
National Reconciliation Week
Over the past two weeks the media’s attention has been consumed by the riots which have been occurring in America in response to the death of George Floyd while being restrained by Minneapolis police. Such scenes show the deep hurt that exists in America as a result of historical racial tensions and inhumane treatment of black Americans. Unfortunately, these violent and unfortunate events and the COVID-19 situation have overshadowed an important week for Australians. A week when we recognise the hurt of our First Australians and remind ourselves of our collective commitment to reconciliation .
It has been 20 years since the first National Sorry Day, that acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children known as the Stolen Generation. These children were forcibly removed from their families, communities and cultural identities. Yet, even though the Prime Minister publicly apologised in 2008, the hurt amongst Australia’s indigenous people continues to this day.
National Reconciliation Week spans both last week and this week. It marks 20 years of Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation, and the twentieth anniversary of the Reconciliation Walks of 2000. Each year some of our students are involved in the Reconciliation Flag Walk along with other local schools. The event is organised by the Shellharbour City Council to promote and celebrate the shared journeys of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the non-Indigenous communities of Australia. It’s an occasion where our students represent their cultural heritage as well as our College Community. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. We hope it continues next year.
The National Reconciliation Week also commemorates two significant milestones for the First Australian’s, the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. This year’s theme ‘In this together’, reminds us that whether in a crisis or in reconciliation, we are in this together, a particularly relevant theme. This week also reminds us that the only way to truly achieve reconciliation is through seeking forgiveness as Jesus has taught us. In 2 Corinthians 5:19 it says “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”