Close the Gap
This week Loreto Normanhurst acknowledged and raised awareness for the country-wide Close the Gap campaign. Now in its 11th year, the Close the Gap campaign focuses on equality for Australia’s First Nations peoples. Its guiding tenant is that all people in Australia, regardless of race or culture, should be able to live safe and healthy lives.
As a school over the course of the week we have been led by our social justice group, JPIC, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and our Year 11 and 12 Aboriginal Studies classes in raising awareness of and advocating for this cause. This included a whole school launch of the week in House Time on Monday, Tutor Group Trivia on Tuesday and petition signing on Wednesday.
At the Secondary School Assembly students were asked to enter into deep listening to the voices of Australia’s Aboriginal Peoples. It is only in listening to the rich history and tradition that this varied culture provides, that we as a country will ever truly succeed in closing the gaps in health an education. This listening took the form of unpacking the Uluru Statement from the Heart – a significant document in Australia which forms a national Indigenous consensus position on Indigenous constitutional recognition, which came out of a constitutional convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates. It perfectly sets out the richness of Indigenous Australian culture and spirituality:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
Excerpt from Uluru Statement from the Heart, 2017
As a community we commit our voice to closing the gap in Australia through our words, actions and advocacy. If we are able to stop, reflect and search for answers to this issue as one Australian community, it will be a step in the right direction.
Mr Phillip Merchant
Acting Social Justice Coordinator