On January 26, VACCA proudly celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. We recognise the strength and resilience of our people, remember those who have fought for change, and acknowledge all who stand with us as we continue to advocate for better outcomes for Aboriginal children and families in Victoria.
On this day, we are reminded of the resilience and strength of our people. We remember our Elders and the trailblazers who have fought for change, and we honor those who have paid a heavy price in fighting for our rights and freedoms as we push for the same quality of life that non-Indigenous Australians take for granted.
We are reminded of the ongoing impacts of invasion and colonisation on our children, families and communities who continue to face discrimination and disadvantage as a result. We see this in the over-representation of our children and young people in the justice system; in poorer health, education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people; in rising rates of homelessness and child removal. To celebrate January 26 is to diminish the trauma we have faced, and to say that the pain these injustices continue to cause us does not matter.
We are reminded that we are stronger together. The denial of a Voice and constitutional recognition represents a missed opportunity for unity in our country. As we forge a path forward, progress towards Treaty has become more important than ever, particularly as we reflect on the Yoorrook Justice Commission findings on the ongoing harms caused by racism and colonialism in relation to our child protection and justice systems. Where division has been created, we renew our call for unity to amplify Aboriginal voices.
For over 47 years VACCA has supported and protected Aboriginal children and families. Through our work, we know that Aboriginal-led, culturally safe, trauma-informed services build strong Aboriginal families, support safe Aboriginal children, and create thriving communities.
As VACCA continues to reform the systems that work against us, we call on government for greater investment in prevention and early help strategies to address unnecessary child-removal practices in Victoria; in Aboriginal children's healing services; and in early intervention family violence supports so Aboriginal families can live free from violence.
To community and our allies, we call on you to continue to stand with us and support VACCA’s work in fighting for the rights of Aboriginal children and families. Invest your time and resources in spaces that support unity and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Challenge our government to take action on political representation and justice, call out racism and support the work of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations.
January 26 does not empower us. But it underscores the need for a plan to unite us. It reminds us that despite everything, our collective Voice will lead to real change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We are strong. We are proud. Our work continues.
ABOUT VACCA - www.vacca.org
The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) is the State’s leading Aboriginal child and family services organisation, and the largest provider of services for Aboriginal family violence and homelessness. We have been supporting children, young people and families in the community for over 47 years, as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO).
Through our vision of self-determination – Live, Experience, and Be – we exist to support culturally strong, safe and thriving Aboriginal communities. We deliver over 70 programs across Victoria including child and family services, family violence, support for stolen generations, child protection, cultural strengthening programs, mental health, financial services, justice and redress support, early years and homelessness services.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we work. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and to their children and young people who are the future elders and caretakers of this great land.