Campaigning for change

Posted on 07.04.2017 in 0
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Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike would benefit from a Constitution that recognises and celebrates the first Australians, Dubbo’s Nunka-Wa-Ru Pearce has said.

The 16-year-old – a school captain at Dubbo College Senior Campus – is part of the Recognise campaign to get recognition in and racism out of Australia’s Constitution.

This week he was joined by fellow Dubbo students Jenaya Gibbs-Muir and Rosa-May Williams-Karam in Sydney to learn more about the campaign, and to become youth ambassadors for Constitutional change.

On Thursday they learned about sections of the Constitution that allow governments to make laws based on a person’s race, and to ban people from voting based on race.

“We’re just trying to get that out of the Constitution as well as bring the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in,” Nunka said.

“I feel that by giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognition within the Constitution will … make us feel a bit more welcomed and respected within our own country, as well as give the non-indigenous people a bit more insight into indigenous culture and their country’s culture as well.”

Campaigning for change is in Nunka’s blood. His great-grandmother was political activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal (also known as Kath Walker) – a key campaigner in the lead-up to the 1967 referendum to count Indigenous Australians equally as citizens under the Constitution.

“When I found out everything she had done, it made me want to … follow in her footsteps,” Nunka said.

The youth workshop wrapped up on Friday, with Nunka returning home to Dubbo in time to start school holidays.

When school returns, he hoped to spark conversations about Constitutional recognition, first at his school and then within the wider Dubbo community.

“I feel as if Dubbo would be pretty accepting of the whole role that Recognise is trying to play,” he said. “It’s quite multicultural so I feel that we’ll get quite a backing and big support from it.”
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Originally published in Dubbo Daily Liberal at http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/4583024/campaigning-for-change/