The RECOGNISE relay will reach Nambucca Heads on Saturday, having travelled more than 30,000 kilometres since it began nearly two years ago.
The Journey to Recognition invites local communities across the nation to be part of the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our country’s Constitution – and to ensure there is no place for racial discrimination in it.
Locals are invited to join an afternoon barbecue at the Nambucca Heads Entertainment Centre on Saturday between 3pm and 5 o’clock, where art activities are being organised.
RECOGNISE spokesperson and Gumbaynggirr descendent, Aden Ridgeway will be present to speak to guests.
“I travelled with the ‘Journey’ when it launched in Melbourne almost two years ago and feel honoured to now welcome campaigners to my own country,” he said.
“I grew up on Bellwood Aboriginal mission and in my earliest years there was no electricity and no running water.
“It wasn’t until I turned five that any of us were counted as citizens.
“A lot has changed since then ... and yet discrimination remains in our highest legal document.
“Our Constitution remains silent on the history of our people, a people who endured, evolved and prospered here for tens of thousands of years before the British colonies were proclaimed.”
He said that changing the Constitution required every Australian to vote at a referendum, and for it to be successful, it required a double majority; that is, majority of people across the country and a majority of people in a majority of the six states to vote yes.
“Big moments like this require the active involvement of every Australian,” Aden said.
“I call on NSW to be an active driver of change; our schools, community groups, local stores and church groups all have a role to play. Bring your voices, your passions, your life lessons and your knowledge to this.”
Since launching on May 26, 2013, the Journey to Recognition has been on the road for 247 days, travelling through 195 communities by foot, bike, 4-wheel drive, kayak, surfboard and paddle board. Campaigners have held 253 events and meetings, engaged more than 19,500 and covered more than 30,660 kilometres.
Almost a quarter of a million Australians – 244,969 people – are now part of this historic quest for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the removal of race discrimination.