The Uluru Statement: Thomas Mayor and Teela Reed ask “Who Will Hear Our Voice?”

March 10, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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When enough Australian people come together to join their voices together in a call for justice and social change, the decision-makers are forced to listen. 

Thomas Mayor studies the artwork

This is the success of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the contribution of Emanuel Synagogue supporting a people’s movement for a constitutionally enshrined Voice. The Australian Government has moved from complete dismissal in 2017, to the Voice being officially endorsed by a bi-partisan joint select committee in November of 2018, and a return to bipartisan platform before the election in May 2019.

Thomas Mayor

In March of 2019, one of the key activists in the Uluru Statement movement, Thomas Mayor, joined Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins for a dynamic and informative In Conversation before more than 250 people who gathered at Emanuel Synagogue. This included bringing the original Uluru Statement for the packed audience to read and hold. From that gathering, the campaign was bolstered with great support from members of the congregation and community.

On Sunday April 5, Thomas Mayor is returning to Emanuel Synagogue with the powerful campaigner and lawyer, Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman Teela Reid to consider what has been achieved in the last 12 months and what the future looks like for indigenous Australians.

Teela was involved as a working group leader on s 51(xxvi), the Races Power, in the Constitutional dialogue process that culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. She was the first Aboriginal person to be elected on the UNSW Law Society as Vice-President (Social Justice), and the Inaugural recipient of the NSW Indigenous Barristers Trust award. In 2017, Teela was selected to attend Harvard University as a global Emerging Leader. On her return to Australia, Teela fearlessly took Prime Minister Turnbull to task on Q&A after his dismissal of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Teela Reid

Thomas Mayor is a Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait Islander) man born and living on Larrakia country (Darwin). Thomas was a delegate at the Convention and has been touring the country as the current custodian of the Uluru Statement, talking about its significance to regional and metropolitan communities.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was signed in May 2017 by a historic gathering of around 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. The statement is a proposal of reform that would establish a constitutionally enshrined First Nations representative body to advise parliament on policy affecting Indigenous peoples and commit Australia to a process of truth-telling of its colonial history through the establishment of a Makarrata commission.

This event comes at a crucial time, as the process appears to be stalled. It’s time for the movement to grow again, or all could be lost. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed if social justice for First Nations people is desired. We cannot allow the Uluru Statement to be another First Nations proposal that dies due to public apathy.

This In Conversation: “Who Will Hear Our Voice?” will take place at Emanuel Synagogue, 7 Ocean Street, Woollahra on Sunday, April 5 from 5:00pm-6:30pm with bookings at emanuel.org.au/voice.

The In Conversation series is an initiative of Emanuel Synagogue comprising regular talks by prominent individuals. The talks are open to all members of the community; more details can be found on the Synagogue’s website: emanuel.org.au or on Facebook at facebook.com/emanuel.synagogue/ or by calling Emanuel Synagogue (02) 9389 6444.

For more on the Uluru Statement from the Heart:  https://ulurustatement.org/

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