Record numbers of Australians marched in solidarity with the nation’s First peoples in capital cities on Survival Day on Friday. Many others supported a range Survival Day and cultural events held all around the country. Every year people are coming together in unity and understanding that 26 January is not a day of celebration, including our Amnesty community!
Amnesty International Australia’s (AIA) commitment to reconciliation includes recognising significant dates within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar, including the 26th January.
In 2018 AIA made the decision to join the growing movement which is calling on Government to #ChangetheDate of Australia Day so that all Australians can join our national celebrations.
What happened offline?
AIA staff had the option to work on 26 January and take another day off instead. About half of our staff members worked on the day.
Many of our staff, activists and volunteers, as in past years, also participated in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community events across the country including the Redfern Group who held a stall at the Yabun Festival in Sydney and collected hundreds of signatures on the #ChangeTheDate petition.
WA staff and activists attended the One Day in Fremantle festival and Brisbane staff, activists and volunteers attended the rally and Reconciliation Queensland forum. In Canberra we joined the march, in Hobart and Adelaide staff and supporters were part of the local rallies and events too.
In Melbourne Amnesty deployed a team of Human Rights Observers at the Survival Day rally organised by Warriors for Aboriginal Resistance. A team of 9 staff and activists observed police interactions with protesters to make sure they didn’t infringe on people’s right to freedom of assembly. The team took detailed notes, photos and footage of police presence and behaviours and by all accounts were able to meet our goal of reducing the likelihood of police violence and protecting the rights of protesters.
We’d love to know if you participated in local Survival Day events. Tell us in the comments section below how you supported Survival Day.
What happened online?
Over 13,000 supporters took our online action calling on our Government to:
- acknowledge that 26 January has a long and painful history for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and
- consult with the community to choose a new date for Australia Day so it can be celebrated by all.
Already, thousands of Australians have taken action. If you haven’t taken action yet, it’s not too late. If our elected representatives hear loud and clear that the community wants to #ChangeTheDate, then in the future we could have a new date for Australia Day that everyone can celebrate!
Stay tuned for what’s next on the campaign and take a moment listen to Aboriginal leaders and elders on why it’s important to #ChangetheDate. If you collected any hard copy petitions please return them to your action centre ASAP.
Our country’s history goes back well beyond 26 January 1788. It began over 65,000 years ago – and we’re still making it now. Let’s respect the survival and resilience of our Indigenous peoples and #ChangeTheDate.