NAIDOC Week, a week dedicated to celebrating the culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples took place from 7–14 July, and to mark the occasion Melbourne City Mission launched their first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP program includes four stages of RAPs, each offering a different level of engagement and support. In developing the Melbourne City Mission Reflect RAP, it was decided that the first Plan will be a ‘Reflect’ Plan, in recognition that the organisation is only at the start of their journey.
The event was attended by over 70 people and saw staff come together to celebrate this important step towards reconciliation, while sampling indigenous themed food provided by Heat Catering, and enjoying original music and rap performed by young Aboriginal artists.
Aunty Carolyn Briggs, Senior Elder of the Boon Wurrung clan of the Kulin Nations (traditional owners), opened the celebration with a Welcome to Country, and spoke about the theme of NAIDOC Week 2015, 'We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate'.
Various Melbourne City Mission staff then followed with an Acknowledgement of Country in their own first languages, including Farsi, Gaelic, Hindi, Swahili, Bahasa and Italian. Thanks to Koly Namdarian, Louise O'Moore, Karan Mahida, Susan Njoka, Nelly Tang and Anna Pira for participating and helping to express the diverse nature of the organisation.
Speaking at the launch, Ric Holland (Rev), CEO, stressed the historic nature of the occasion.
‘With our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, Melbourne City Mission – across all areas of our operations – is making a public commitment to become more engaged, aware, informed and culturally competent in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their organisations and communities. Our Plan provides us with a framework to get the process started, with energy and passion for a new era of reconciliation at Melbourne City Mission and in the wider community."
Fiona Rigney, Co-Chair of Melbourne City Mission's Towards Reconciliation Working Group and Fiona Moore, Reconciliation Project Worker, also addressed the audience on the day and spoke specifically about the Plan, and the beginning of an important journey towards reconciliation for Melbourne City Mission.
Overall, the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan identifies actions, timelines and measureable outcomes to help deepen our engagement with the First Peoples of this nation, and Melbourne City Mission are excited to share this plan with the wider community.
To read the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, please visit our Reading Room section of the website or click here.
The Reflect RAP publication features Melbourne City Mission's new artwork by Mandy Nicholson of the Wurundjeri-willam clan of the Kulin Nations. This artwork will be officially launched in October.