Reconciliation Week 2018

National Reconciliation Week 2018

National Sorry Day and Reconciliation week are always important events on the St Vincent’s Darlinghurst campus, and this year we didn’t shy away from the difficult realities of Aboriginal affairs in this country.

Starting the week with a Reconciliation liturgy led by Father Darryl Mackie, the congregation was asked to consider the wrongs of the past and the residual intergenerational trauma that continues to impact our Nation’s First Peoples today. Special guest, Eileen Deemal-Parker, CEO of Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, spoke beautifully about reconciliation and asked us to think about what it means for us as individuals, as well as health care providers, and consider what each of us can do to help achieve it.

At Medical Grand Rounds, Homeless Health Peer Support Worker and proud Bunda woman, Gale Sellman participated in a Q&A with Manager of Tierney House, Cameron French. During this discussion, Gale shared a very personal account of her life experiences of homelessness, problematic drug use, crime and domestic violence, giving audience members a sobering account of the plight of many of our vulnerable community members. Having survived an incredibly complex and difficult start to life, Gale’s strength and resilience has seen her come full circle. In her role at Tierney House, Gale’s presence is invaluable beyond measure, working with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are sleeping rough, often with similar stories to hers.  Now Gale walks the journey to recovery alongside others, having walked a mile in their shoes already. Her bravery in sharing her story and her infallible commitment to helping others is an inspiration to us all.

Finally, the week’s end was marked with a special screening of ‘After the Apology’, an important film documenting the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, not historically, but as it still occurs today. It was an eye-opening, if not heart wrenching film but an important one for all Australians to watch.

Events such as these empower our staff with knowledge and understanding of historical and current events that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the hope that we stop and think about what steps we can take, however big or small, that bring us closer to a reconciled Australia.