Reconciliation theme resonates in pandemic

Education staff are urged to mark National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week.

25 May 2020
A group of preschool students holding painted Aboriginal flags and a sign with the word Darug.
Image: National Reconciliation Week brings people together to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements.

The impact of COVID-19 should assist Education Department staff in their reflections on the importance of National Reconciliation Week, which starts on 27 May.

The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2020, ‘In this together’, reflects the current experience of the pandemic.

“The theme resonates as we face the extraordinary challenges of COVID-19 with a sense of solidarity and shared purpose,” said NSW Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott.

“Working and walking together is the essence of National Reconciliation Week, as we take the opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation.”

There is a suite of resources available to help in organising an event to mark National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week.

The Education Department has suggested three simple actions everyone can take to recognise and celebrate National Reconciliation Week:

  1. Demonstrate respect by beginning your meetings and events with an Acknowledgement of Country during National Reconciliation Week and throughout the year.
  2. Show your support by changing your Zoom background for the week.
  3. Celebrate by watching the live recording of Baker Boy’s hit ‘Marryuna’ – the title means ‘to dance with no shame’, in Yolngu Matha language.

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June every year. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively.

The week follows directly on from National Sorry Day on 26 May, which is held to remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generations.

“Whether it’s a virtual event next week or something in-person a little later in the year, it’s important to bring people together to develop a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, histories and cultures; to ignite conversation; and to spark change,” Mr Scott said.

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