Forum to highlight Naidoc Week

Ballarat young people aged 12 to 25 with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds have been invited to discuss identity, leadership, racism and mental health with indigenous leaders for Naidoc Week next Friday. 

 Macaylah Johnson, 12, and Sissy Austin, 20, look forward to celebrating Naidoc Week. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

Macaylah Johnson, 12, and Sissy Austin, 20, look forward to celebrating Naidoc Week. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

Gunditjmara woman Sissy Austin, 20, who helped organise the forum, said it was important for young Aboriginal people to engage with their background. 

“This forum is about connecting with our culture, which has always been part of the Ballarat community,” she said. 

Macaylah Johnson, 12, from the Wadawurrung, said racism was still very much part of their lives. 

“We experience it, so it’s good to talk about how to deal with it,”  she said.

Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People Andrew Jackomos will speak at the event about leadership and identity, along with statewide co-ordinator of the Koorie Youth Council Greg Kennedy and local leaders. 

As well as the forums on the serious issues in the community, there will be theatre, art and songwriting workshops throughout the day, which will be held at Kirrit Bareet on Main Road. 

Naidoc Week runs from July 6-13, and will be marked by events run by the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative and celebrations at local schools.

Event details: Friday, July 4, 10am-3pm. Kirrit Barreet, 403 Main Road, Ballarat. RVSPs on the Koorie Youth Forum Facebook page.

alex.hamer@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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