**This week, we celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) as a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for National Reconciliation Week are the same each year: 27 May to 3 June.
Our Year 7 to 11 Indigenous Outreach student leaders attended “National Sorry Day” organised by the City of Whittlesea Friday, 26th May 2023 honouring the Stolen Generations.
Since 1998, National Sorry Day has been annually commemorated to mark the presentation of the significant Bringing Them Home report in the Federal Parliament in 1997.
This occasion provides a moment for reflection on the devastating consequences of past laws, practices, and policies that forcibly separated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. It also recognizes the resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors and encourages collective participation in the healing process for our people and nation.
The ceremony took place at the Civic Centre in South Morang. Attendees observed a minute of silence and received a traditional Welcome to Country.
The keynote speaker for the event was Commissioner Maggie Walter from the Yoorrook Justice Commission. Commissioner Walter, a distinguished Palawa woman, is a prominent advocate for Indigenous rights and has contributed extensively to the fields of Indigenous sociology and Indigenous Data Sovereignty through her authorship of over 100 journal articles and research chapters.
Guests also joined the annual Sorry Walk organized by the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group. This symbolic walk provided an opportunity for individuals to acknowledge past wrongs and express their apologies.
The ceremony concluded with a solemn gesture as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were lowered to half-mast, honouring the Stolen Generations members who never returned home.
Lydia Wilson, Chair Administrator of the City of Whittlesea, emphasized the immense significance of National Sorry Day to the local community. She acknowledged the immense suffering, grief, and loss endured by the Stolen Generations and recognised the ongoing intergenerational pain experienced by many in the community members because of the forced removal of Indigenous children.
The theme for this year's National Reconciliation Week is "Be a Voice for Generations," calls on individuals to actively contribute to the process of reconciliation and advocate for the rights and well-being of future generations.