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Because of her, we can!

10 Jul 2018 -

YMCA NSW Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Ambassadors Hamani and Payten talk about NAIDOC week, the inspirational women who have influenced their lives, and what being an Ambassador means to them.

About NAIDOC week:

Hamani: NAIDOC week means so much to me as a proud Aboriginal man. It’s an event where Aboriginal people get together and we say “We’re here and there’s nothing you can do about it. You may bring us down, but we’re still here and we’re celebrating the milestones that we achieved”.

Payten: It’s also a way to bring our culture to everyone else and show every other Australian what being Aboriginal means to us. It’s a different meaning for everyone and it’s a very special meaning. It’s something that we want to share with other Australians.

Because of her, we can:

Hamani: This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Because of her, we can’. It’s basically a celebration of the women in our Aboriginal communities who have done so much for us. The one person in my life who has done so much for me is my own mum. Because of her I have become who I am. She helps me identify myself not only as an Aboriginal man but as a proud gay man. 

Hamani and his Mother

Payten: Like Hamani, my mum has been an inspiration in my life for very similar reasons. She’s helped me come out of my shell. She’s fought for what she thinks is right for me. Also Hamani’s mum is someone who has meant a lot to me as well. At school, she helped me, gave me guidance – being Aboriginal. It’s not easy in a school setting sometimes. She was someone who helped guide me through that, alongside my mum. 

Another person would be Sister Kerry. She was an advocate for us Aboriginal girls at my school. She helped fight for Aboriginal studies to run at my school, which it never had before I studied it in year 11 and 12.

Being a RAP Ambassador for YMCA NSW:

Hamani: By being a YMCA NSW RAP Ambassador, it gives inspiration to other Aboriginal people out there that we can do anything we want. It also gives us a voice for certain policies and for the organisation. It helps the organisation understand the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that’s what we need in today’s society: to move forward as a whole.

Payten: I think being a RAP Ambassador means taking that step towards reconciliation – being an Aboriginal person leading the whole nation and organisations into reconciliation. We know how reconciliation should happen because of what we’ve been through as a culture with our Elders and the generations before us. Whereas non-Aboriginal people don’t have that knowledge and don’t fully understand that impact so they’re not quite aware of how reconciliation should work. 

So being an Ambassador for this, I think it’s a great idea so that we can implement strategies and ways for us to work with organisations and as a nation as a whole to come to complete reconciliation.

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