The First Nations activist Wendy Brabham has called out for political change in Australia to fight against racism in a speech at Melbourne Resistance Centre.
Wendy Brabham is an Aboriginal academic and traditional owner from the Wamba Wamba, Wergaia, Nyeri Nyeri and Dhudhuroa first nations.
She gave the audience a personal view of how her ancestors experienced the colonisation when she read a letter from her mother who was born on Ebenezer Mission.
“When we were kids, terrible things were said to us, racist things,” Mrs Brabham quoted.
Her ancestors have suffered violence, shootings and rapes during the colonisation.
As well as in the history there is still racism against aboriginal people nowadays. Wendy Brabham has experienced institutional racism in her career.
“Institutional racism comes in many forms,” she said, “it is so interesting when you start talking the educational language with the hierarchy or with the equal lecturer and the language that is used to put you into place, to remind you that after all you are an aboriginal person”.
She was the director of the Institute of Koori Education at Deakin University and has been an aboriginal teacher for 35 years of which she is “very, very proud,” she said.
“I love living in two worlds and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Difference is perfect, difference shouldn’t be feared,” Wendy Brabham said.
Mrs Brabham gets support in the fight against new racism from organisations like the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) which consists of young Aboriginal people.
“WAR rejects colonialism and capitalism,” Tarneen Onus-Williams said, a Gunditjmara woman and member of WAR.
WAR organised several events in Melbourne this year to protest against racism against indigenous people including the Invasion Day march and the protests against the forced closure of Aboriginal communities.
“Tony Abbott has become the face of racism. He represents a large percentage of people who oppress aboriginal people,” she said, “The war against First Nations people has never ended”.
Ms Onus-Williams said: “Just because we are not being called racist names on the street, doesn’t mean that racism isn’t alive.”
To integrate the aboriginal people some major changes would have to be made.
“We want equality and to be recognised as first nations people in this country and to be a part of all the decisions that are made, not only the services, but the wealth that is generated so that we don’t have to live off the welfare,” Mrs Brabham said.