In the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, organisers should look to NAIDOC Week celebrations as inspiration for inclusion at the events.
Indigenous leader and Black and Deadly Founder Patricia Leavy, known affectionately by the community as Aunty Pat Leavy, said that Commonwealth Games organisers should aim for the same kind of inclusion and diversity at the Commonwealth Games that they see at NAIDOC Week celebrations.
“I have seen people from all backgrounds here [at NAIDOC celebrations],” Aunty Pat Leavy said.
“I have seen Muslims, Chinese, Japanese, Fijians, White Australians sitting together, and what a mixing pot that is.”
“Today is all about coming together as one mob.”
She said that NAIDOC isn’t just a celebration of Indigenous Australian culture, but also a week of coming together as a united Australian community.
“We’re all just one mob,” she said.
“When you look over there and see everyone together… That is what we can do when we work together as one.”
When asked if she thinks we’re closer to a reconciled Australia, she simply said that “We’re not there yet.”
“People say we are, but [we aren’t] until all Australians, the whole lot who come from all over the world, can come and sit together at the table like we see today.”
She went on to stress that this kind of unity we see promoted at NAIDOC Week celebrations should be promoted and embraced too at the Commonwealth Games
When asked her thoughts on the reconciliation action plan for the Commonwealth Games, she said that what’s important to her is that we focus on our similarities rather than our differences when everyone gathers on the Gold Coast, from all over, for the Games.
“Inclusion and coming together is so important for such a big event.” she said.
A spokesperson for the Commonwealth Games said that “It is our goal to reflect the diversity of multicultural Australia at the Games.”
The Commonwealth Games kick off on April 4th, 2018.