13 February marks the 15th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.
15 years ago, the Australian Government acknowledged and apologised for the pain and and lifelong trauma inflicted upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the forced removal of children from their family, community, Country and culture.
"I was in Parliament House along with many of the Stolen Generations. I was sitting next to an Aboriginal lady who was taken as a child and adopted to a family in Ireland...There was a sense of pride, many tears were shed.
One could not help but be proud of our Prime Minister and of the sincerity of his words. For many in Parliament House it was something they had advocated for hard and strong...I feel a sense of lost opportunity as the "Apology" was full of hope for things to change for Aboriginal people. The flying of the flag and processions through the street and the fact that it stopped the nation.
Yet little has changed on the ground for Aboriginal people."
- Muriel Bamblett, VACCA CEO
The Apology was a significant moment in Australian history. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people finally received recognition for the horrible injustices committed against them by the Australian Government and the intergenerational trauma that remained.
On this day, we come together as a nation to reflect and acknowledge the immeasurable harm done to the Stolen Generations. We honour their strength and that of the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities that survive and live with this trauma.
"The anniversary of the Apology marks a significant event in Australia’s shared history.
Let us all take time on this day to remember, to celebrate, to rejoice, to grieve, to offer support, to learn, to speak out, to listen, to heal, and most of all to be together as a united and caring people of this country."
- Bev Murray, Executive Manager, Link-Up Victoria