Response to Racism
Speech Pathology Australia stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to condemn the racism and discrimination that they continue to face in their daily lives. We strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement and deplore violence and discrimination against all people of colour, regardless of ethnicity.
We recognise the ongoing negative impact of intergenerational trauma faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a result of historic government policies and practices, current injustices, discrimination and bias that continues to exist in our nation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities face deeply embedded distress as a result of past practices which separated children from their families, inequities in health and economic outcomes, and high rates of incarceration and deaths in custody.
We respect the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the face of adversity, and value their cultures, knowledges, languages and ways of healing and the connection to, and custodianship of, land, waterways and sea.
We re-affirm the commitments made in our Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, our Reconciliation Action Plan and the Strategic Plan 2020. We acknowledge that reconciliation is an ongoing process and that responsibility rests with all members and staff of the Association. We know there is much more to be done.
We commit to working in safe and culturally responsive ways with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to embedding the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the functions of the Association, and to calling out racism when it arises. It is no longer enough to only stand up and condemn racism, it is now time for us to work actively against it.
To effect change, collective action is needed. We therefore urge all members to recognise the importance of listening carefully and respectfully to the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; to commit to engaging in conversations to build trust and to learn about the hidden truths and history that our First Nations peoples have known and experienced and the negative impacts this continues to have on their lives.
We urge our members to take up their responsibility to build their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, strengths and challenges and to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within their communities to build understanding. The onus is on non-Indigenous people to contribute positively to change, and to a more equitable future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The burden of change must not be borne only by those who live the experiences that make change necessary.
Speech Pathology Australia will continue to work with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee to ensure our commitment to change is evident in the actions we take, and to make these actions visible across the Association.
The Association has committed to the development of a formal Position Statement on Racism and Discrimination.
We encourage members to contact us with suggestions about further actions the Association can take and to share actions they have undertaken or plan to undertake in their stand against racism.
National President (former)
Speech Pathology Australia