Australia Day, a day to be proud to be Australian.
You might believe this.
But open your eyes and your mind and you will change your mind.
Suspect you don’t know the real story.
European people invaded Australia and proceeded to destroy Aboriginal people and their culture.
Shock! Horror! The hidden histories are revealed!
Very kind they were to us but stupid Europeans destroyed them.
Distracted by their pride and courage, they ruined our land.
Australia Day needs to be banished.
Dads and Mums take heed the message is wrong.
Suffering is the Aboriginal people’s memory of the first landing.
Save their dignity and change this national day of celebration.
I too did not accept. My schooling told a different story. But I opened my mind and learned the Indigenous perspective. Change is very difficult to accept. Very challenging and confronting. But I need to say, it is worth it. We learn from what we see and are told. It is very difficult to understand other’s perspectives when Indigenous history is hidden. It is time to open our minds to Indigenous history. It is very important to them, and our country.
People who can speak take for granted their voice.
People with disabilities “find themselves socially, culturally and politically isolated. They are ignored, invisible and silent. They struggle to be noticed, they struggle to be seen, they struggle to have their voices heard.” (Extract from page 1 of Shut Out: The experiences of people with disabilities and their families in Australia, 2009.)
I am one of these people. I am non-verbal.
Would you listen to me? Probably not. You would see my disability and ignore me.
Many people think I am cute and fail to see I am a thinking person.
It is frustrating.
How would you feel?
Imagine not being able to talk.
It is a strange experience for you.
You type your answers and requests, but people ignore you.
Voice is more than speech. It is expressing opinions and being validated by people.
Without voice, I am an empty vessel. My identity is stunted.
Listen and you will see that I have a voice and I demand to be heard.
Voice is my essence.
Voice is my call.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Voice is important. (Jackie)
Self advocacy allows me to be an independent adult. Self advocacy gives me power over my own life. I become a person who has choices over my own destiny. I become a man rather than simply someone’s child needing babysitting. I get to live the life I wish to lead, it’s my choice, as it should be, because it’s my life. I choose my own identity as a writer, as a friend, as a son, as a man, because I’ve been allowed to because I advocate for myself. I have power to determine the type of man I want to be… strong, loving, passionate, wicked. (Adrian)
Equality for all is the brainchild of Adrian Kooistra and Jackie Irwin. We are passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and other minority groups. Children and adults with disabilities are inhibited by our able-bodied society. There needs to be awareness raising about this. New knowledge is revealed when people are open minded. Trust me, this is a difficult journey you are embarking on. ‘White’, able-bodied privilege is a hidden element of our society so I had difficulties acknowledging its existence.