In the 'The Uluru Statement from the Heart' our indigenous brothers and sisters asked for the right to be heard this week.
'The Uluru Statement from the Heart' is an incredible achievement (read it here). A coming together in unity of people from many different nations to stand together and call for the right to be heard. It calls for constitutional reform to give indigenous Australian's a voice to speak into their own future, and a Makarrata commission to supervise treaties between nations and governments and a truth telling process.
Thanks to the work of ABC's Q & A program I got to listen to more that the statement. I got to hear their voices, their opinions, their struggles and their heart. If you haven't watched it, take the time to listen (Episode 16). Hear.
As our 'Launch' Gap Year program young adults head to Yuendumu in the next couple of weeks to serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, my hope is that they will learn to listen. As we have prepared, we had the privilege to sit at the feet of some of the Warlpiri people who taught us about Dadirri. Dadirri describes the process of deep and respectful listening to build community. A process that helps people explore, learn, wait and contemplate. A process our world so desperately needs to learn.
Winston Churchhill was quoted as saying "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen".
Our indigenous brothers and sisters have had the courage to stand up and speak to us in the past week. Will we have the courage to sit down and listen?
As we listen and hear, we will encourage them to keep speaking. Many in our country will want to silence them. But I don't underestimate the Australian people. I don't underestimate our capacity to listen, to empower, to believe, to rise up. I also don't underestimate the patience of our Indigenous brother's and sisters, for whom this has already been a 10 year journey. So join me. Listen. Hear. Then use your voices to raise up theirs. So that we can join together "in a moment of the Australian people for a better future".
Please take the time to listen to the Q&A episode, read the Uluru statement linked above, connect with some of the various Facebook groups, or read this summary from the SMH.