In case you missed our recent series of Tweets @BSEMaus regarding the #BlackLivesMatter and #AboriginalLivesMatter protest movement, we are sharing them again here. BSEM will always have a focus on contributing to collaborative efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of Aboriginal Australians and other marginalised groups. We are always interested in hearing from schools about the work you are doing in this space. Please contact us if you have thoughts, ideas or initiatives you would like to share with us or if you want to join us in this continuing conversation.
One year ago, I moved to Australia to become a Senior Trainer with the Berry Street Education Model. As an American citizen, now an Australian resident, and a former New York City public school educator, I have been closely following the recent Black Lives Matter events in both Australia and the United States. Because this movement has been covered prominently in world news, I’ve had many conversations with Australians who have expressed shock and disbelief that racism is still one of America’s biggest battles. Interestingly though, I can see that Australia has its own story when it comes to the ongoing prevalence of racism. The way both countries have historically and currently treat people of colour significantly impacts the young people with whom we work and as such, is a critical subject to address.
Berry Street’s Take Two service is working to reduce the impacts of developmental and intergenerational trauma with some of our most vulnerable children.
Belinda Blundell is a member of Take Two’s Aboriginal Team and works with children in East Gippsland.
By Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Berry Street – Take Two
Lots of 7-years-olds wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly. But Jay can.
Jay is an Aboriginal child going to a local primary school in suburban Melbourne. But unlike the others in his class, he has only just started talking.
Professor Muriel Bamblett AM, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), covered issues facing Aboriginal children in today’s society.
And, the stats were shocking.
Aboriginal children today are twenty times more likely to be homeless, receive over 30% less financial support, face a life expectancy 20 years lower than that of non-Aboriginal children, and they are more likely to experience disability, ill health, and a reduced quality of life.
Despite all of that, Muriel reminded us that this data doesn’t tell us about the good things happening in Aboriginal communities and spoke of the successes in culture and sport of indigenous people like singer Jessica Mauboy, AFL star Buddy Franklin & NRL star Jonathan Thurston.
Muriel shared that building Aboriginal culture into everything VACCA do is crucial, and that after their safety, the most important thing to establish in an Aboriginal child’s life is culture and cultural safety.
How can we help provide an environment which respects that culture around us?
Post written by a youth blogger from SYN Media.
In 2007, Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle – or the Little Children Are Sacred Report – exposed the complexity and shame of sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.
Constant media focus on child abuse in the NT followed. Daily reports in The Australian newspaper and nightly stories on ABC’s Lateline.
They covered, paedophile rings, chronic neglect, kids sniffing petrol, kids roaming the streets day and night and the sexual abuse of kids, including kids abusing other kids. All fueled by a daily diet of pornography and alcohol.
Shocking, awful stuff. Hard to digest, hard to think about and harder to know where to start. But, in time, easy to ignore.
With the 2007 Federal Election looming, the NT intervention was announced in response to this ‘national emergency’.
Just after another election, it’s a good time to ask – has childhood improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children?
I’m not sure.
Media stories of neglect and abuse continue. Negative images of Aboriginal kids and families dominate.
Take a look at this photo of a two year old Aboriginal girl from NT in a News.com.au article.
What’s your first thought when you look at it?
At first glance it’s hard not to think she’s been punched.
I had to ask myself, why was that my first thought?
Are we getting any better at providing kids like this with a good childhood?