National Reconciliation Week, which runs from 27 May to 3 June each year, is an important opportunity for Australians to learn about the issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, acknowledge our shared history and explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
This year is particularly notable because it marks 20 years since the founding of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process – an important milestone and a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, as well as how far we still have to go.
Read on to find out why this event is so important and how you can contribute to building a truly equitable, reconciled Australia.
What is National Reconciliation Week?
National Reconciliation Week is bookended by the anniversaries of two important milestones in our reconciliation journey: the successful referendum where two parts of the Constitution that excluded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were amended (27th May 1967), and the High Court Mabo decision, which legally acknowledged First Nations people as traditional custodians of Australia for the first time (3rd June 1992).
These historic dates still hold significance today, reminding us of the impact we can have when we join together as one to stand up for what’s right.
Moving from Awareness to Action: 2021 Theme
This year’s theme, “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action,” is a call to go beyond merely understanding issues to make real, sustainable change. With 2020 being marked by the Black Lives Matter protests and huge attendance at Invasion Day rallies, it’s clear that as a country, we are at a tipping point, and we’re seeing more people recognising and speaking up about issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
While there is greater support for reconciliation than ever before, to truly achieve a reconciled Australia, we must take this existing awareness and use it as a springboard for concerted action against systemic racism, inequality and rights issues.
Continuing to move in the right direction requires a clear vision for what reconciliation will ultimately look like. The 2021 State of Reconciliation in Australia Report provides guidance on practical actions we can take to collectively build communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures, histories and futures.
Ways to Participate
Today, National Reconciliation Week is celebrated by organisations, education providers and individuals across the country, with hundreds of events taking place – big and small! From hosting a morning tea and participating in local events to promoting National Reconciliation Week on social media and attending online discussions, there are so many ways to participate.
Looking to get involved but stuck for ideas? Click here for a full list of the events you can organise or take part in, and don’t forget to show your support by downloading a free poster, social media tile, Zoom background and email signature.
Whether you’re engaging in honest conversations or relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together as one. In National Reconciliation Week 2021, we encourage all Australians to contribute to the national movement towards a unified future.
To find out more about National Reconciliation Week and the initiatives that are being carried out to reconcile Australia, visit the Reconciliation Australia website.