President’s Message July 2021

With National Reconciliation Week behind us and NAIDOC Week ahead of us, there’s lots to reflect upon this month. This year, the the NRW theme, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’ and the NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country, heal our nation’ both urge us to take impactful and concrete steps towards respecting, celebrating and empowering our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, nations and heritage.

Learning about the unequal health and life outcomes of people in disadvantaged communities, not to mention the unique challenges faced by intersections of these groups, can be confronting. I have learned, however, that having empathy, and being willing to be open – to listen, and be uncomfortable – is a superpower we can all cultivate. I understand how painful it can be to sit in discomfort whilst accepting others’ disprivilege, and how mortifying it can be to examine our own implicit biases, but I think it is important that we continue to learn, both from one another and from our own reflections, in order to take positive action to change ourselves, and empower those who live in disparity.

It may sound nerdy, but our local libraries are a fantastic (and grossly under-utilised) resource if, like me, you are looking to take an active step in learning more about how you can harness your superpower. This month, I am attending a really interesting talk on indigenous policing in Australia put on by my local library. I encourage you to do the same.

And here at VMWS, we remain committed to respecting and empowering First Nations peoples. We wholly support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and we have taken direction from AFMW, which established a Reconciliation Action Plan working group recently, where we hope to take from and append to their RAP with some Victorian-centric input. We are looking to be guided by First Nations peoples, and if you identify as such, we’d love to hear from you. And if you are, or know of someone who would be interested to contribute to our RAP, please get in touch with us.

How are you celebrating our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage this month? I’d love to know! You can hit reply on this email or tweet me @heymadhura.

Warmest regards,
Madhura

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