Anglicare Victoria stands with the Black Lives Matter movement.
We recognise that we all live and work on Aboriginal land, and that sovereignty was never ceded.
We hear the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to “walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future”, and gratefully and respectfully accept that invitation.
We recognise the detrimental impact that the last two centuries of colonial history has had on Aboriginal people, families and communities, and on the land itself. We also recognise that this impact continues to be felt in contemporary Australian culture, policy, politics and practice.
Too often, acknowledgement has not been matched by action. The Australian community has recognised the devastating impact of child removal and the Stolen Generation, and yet continues to remove Aboriginal children from their families at rates that are unacceptably high and disproportionate to that of other families. Contemporary injustices compound the traumas inherited from history.
Thirty years has passed since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and yet many of the recommendations have not advanced. Over 430 Aboriginal people have died in custody nationally since the report’s release in 1991. Aboriginal children comprise more than half of the kids in custody, and they are not safe from harm. Every one of these people matters.
Nevertheless, Aboriginal leadership has seen Victoria reach some important milestones. The importance of legislative changes to Aboriginal agencies regarding Aboriginal kids in care should not be underestimated. The work on Treaty is also a real step forward in restoring the self-determination that was so long denied. Despite the obstacles placed in their path, Aboriginal people and organisations have been consistently leading, engaging, driving change and challenging governments and service providers to do better – both in child and family services and more broadly. We are thankful for their leadership.
I would also like to acknowledge that for many of us, particularly our Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander staff and clients, the Black Lives Matter movement brings with it a reminder of grief and loss that is very present and very real, and of injustices that have never been addressed. To you I extend our heartfelt and respectful condolences, and re-commit to making sure that as an employer as well as a service provider, Anglicare Victoria provides a just, supportive culturally safe environment, and continues to be enriched by your contribution.
As one of Victoria’s largest children and family services providers, Anglicare Victoria sees that these things impact families on a daily basis. But we are also uniquely positioned to respond. Every day we can make a difference. We can provide integrated, holistic support for families and prevent further child removals. We can make sure that every Aboriginal child, family and young person we work with has an opportunity to connect to culture and community. Because culture matters. Because family matters. Because growing healthy, strong and proud matters.
Black Lives Matter.
Chief Executive Officer