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Yamatji On-Country Call to Action Statement: Youth representative addresses Mid West region’s issues

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Students Shelby Clarke, left, Christian Wright and Trevor Farrell Jnr speaking at Yamatji On-Country.
Camera IconStudents Shelby Clarke, left, Christian Wright and Trevor Farrell Jnr speaking at Yamatji On-Country. Credit: YMAC

Touching words still ring in the ears of those who attended the Yamatji On-Country meeting last month, when future leaders stood brave on stage, voicing their experiences and calls for action to address racism.

On Thursday, October 14, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the district had the opportunity to voice their concerns to government representatives, including Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti and Mid West-Gascoyne Superintendent Steve Post.

Racism was one of six key regional priorities inbuilt into the Call to Action statement, presented by youth representative Shelby Clarke. Her speech touched the crowd, in which she elaborated on discrimination towards First Nations youth.

“Systemic discrimination and racism remain embedded in our society and can range from discrete gestures and undertones to direct and confrontational acts of segregation and exclusion,” she said.

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“The impact of discrimination and racism is destructive, harmful and causes extreme distress. Being treated adversely because of our race breaches our human rights and is a community priority we want addressed.”

Youth leaders suggested increased education and cultural immersion programs across all sectors, improved moral standards and censorship across media platforms, increased representation of First Nations groups, enabling truth-telling to deconstruct myths and stereotypes and strengthening relationships across the community.

Mr Buti said he was particularly touched by the youth’s presentation on racism and would take the information back to Government.

“The youth were amazing. I think the racism and home environment were particularly two incredibly powerful and moving (topics), and a reasonable analysis on their lives,” he said.

Mr Buti said the people on the ground who faced the issues addressed were often people with the right solutions.

The other key issues on the Call to Action Statement are housing, police and justice, education, economic development and health and wellbeing.

A bush tucker lunch was provided to guests with kangaroo stew, curries and plenty of other options on the table.

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