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Why We all Should be Singing for National Reconciliation Week 2024

Why we all should be singing for National Reconciliation Week 2024.

Co-chair of IAP2’s Reconciliation Working Group Mike Butler explains why we all should be singing for National Reconciliation Week 2024.

Before I tell you why you should be singing for this year’s reconciliation week, let me tell you something about it first. For some reason the week that Australia officially shrugs Autumn for Winter coincides with its great thawing moments and bright lights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That’s why National Reconciliation Week is when it is.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) starts every May 27 with the anniversary of the 97% yes vote 1967 referendum and ends with the High Court’s 1992 Mabo decision on June 3. And along with NAIDOC in July, NRW is the other 7-day block that really counts in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar.

The tone of NRW is commemorating the moments of our shared history which are clustered around it. As well as the 1967 Referendum (that gave equal rights) and the 1992 Mabo decision (that legally recognised the old cultures) the week also marks the anniversaries including the biggest march in Australian history (the 250,000+ walk for reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2000), the release of the Uluru Statement in 2017 and the raising of the Torres Strait Island flag 1992.

It’s very Aussie, very inclusive and this year’s NRW theme is the apt Now More Than Ever. It’s a good one because after the collapse of last year’s referendum, now more than ever, we need to be accepting those NRW invitations to the flag raisings, breakfasts and get-togethers that will be coming into your inboxes in coming weeks.

If you’ve never been to an NRW event before, now is the time to say yes. You’ll enjoy it, promise.

This year’s red hot participatory tip though, and the reason to literally sing reconciliation, is this year’s mass-event coordinated by Reconciliation Australia.

The concept is simple, Reconciliation Australia gives you the backing tracks, tips and tools to record your own version of the super easy to sing, very catchy and beautifully worded Black Fella/White Fella by the Warumpi Band. You pull people together to sing it with you then upload it to join people across the country signing the same and becoming part of NRW history.

Get it all here…Choirs – Reconciliation Australia.

It’s a brilliant idea, easy to pull off and there are few better ways of engaging than signing in my book. I’m going to be emptying my lungs with the Brooks Community Engagement office and Sydney Street Choir .

Even if you don’t know how to sing – and I don’t – I’m singing this year because, now more than ever, Australia needs to come together. And nothing does that better than singing. Which is why I encourage you to get your office to do it too.

Have a wonderful National Reconciliation Week and for more info and resources click on National Reconciliation Week.

Mike