May 23, 2013
Canberrans will tomorrow (24 May) walk together across Commonwealth Avenue Bridge in recognition of National Sorry Day, which is commemorated nationally this Sunday, 26 May.
Winnunga Nimmityjah CEO Julie Tongs said the walk is becoming an annual tradition for the ACT and is an important step in healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“We feel the impact of the Stolen Generations every day at Winnunga. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander still suffer from the effects of intergenerational trauma. They feel distressed, angry and isolated from a loss of family and culture.
“Sorry is a significant part of healing for our people and it’s important for non-Indigenous Australians to show their support so we can move forward together.”
Winnunga together with the National Sorry Day Committee; ACT Health; Reconciliation Australia; and the Australian Federal Police have organised the walk.
The Department of Health and Aging (including The Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and eHealth) and the ACT Health Promotions unit are sponsoring this event. The free public event starts at Regatta Point at 10.45am with one south bound lane on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge being closed from 9am to 11.45am. The walk includes a Welcome to Country by Ngunnawal Elder Agnes Shea; smoking ceremony and entertainment by the Wiradjuri Echoes and BBQ lunch. Over 500 people, including a number of schools from the region, are expected to attend the event.
Reconciliation Australia CEO Leah Armstrong said the bridge walk is a great way to bring the local community together.
“Last year’s walk was a very moving event and it was great to see so many community members from diverse backgrounds coming together to acknowledge the importance that Sorry Day has for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples—and for reconciliation.” “The bridge walk represents the journey of healing and justice that Stolen Generations members continue to face,” she said. “Reconciliation Australia strongly supports the bridge walk and we urge all Canberrans to get involved as we walk together in the spirit of reconciliation.”
The Sorry Day bridge walk in Canberra takes place ahead of the start of National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) with hundreds of events set to take place around the nation. www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 – one year after the tabling of the report Bringing them Home, May 1997. The report was the result of an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
Reconciliation Australia is the national organisation promoting reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. For more information visit: www.reconciliation.org.au
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) is an Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service operated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of the ACT. For more information visit: www.winnunga.org.au
Julie Tongs CEO 0418206156
Rebecca Gallegos 0447 401 140 firstname.lastname@example.org