Climate Protest

Tony wearing a tee shirt showing his support for Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Today I stand in public solidarity with the action on the William Jolly Bridge bridge by Extinction Rebellion. Solidarity greetings to Extinction Rebellion Geelong my birth city on #Wathaurong Country.

I also want to declare my public support for this week of activism and awareness raising by a new generation. I share my solidarity as a person of faith whose religious commitment includes the commandment to live with integral ecology in our common home which we share with diverse life forms and species.

Along with political activism I add my spiritual activism of prayer for my conversion and change of heart to simply with less stuff and choices that minimize my ecological footprint. As a Catholic I join with my sisters and brothers who celebrate October as the month of the Holy Rosary. The beads with which I pray are a set I brought back from Alice Springs one year decorated in the traditional Aboriginal colours.

In the last 24 hours I have been involved two conversations that highlight the frightening division in our community. On his FB page one of my brothers has posted a message supporting violence against XR protesters suggesting that the speed bump response is “harsh but fair”. This is a suggestion I find disturbing and offensive in the extreme. To read it from one of my own family is gut wrenching.

While I was taking this in I received a message from a young mate who wanted to know if I would be joining him at the XR action this morning. Of these two conversations the call from a young man to join the passion for change far outweighs the relationship to a curmudgeon.

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) OZ Rosary # 53 The Global Catholic Climate Movement Extinction Rebellion – Grey Power

Just Dates October

Sexual Violence Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

International Day for Older Persons

4-10 World Space Week

5-13 Mental Health Week 

7  World Habitat Day

World Post Day

10 World Day Against the Death Penalty / World Mental Health Day

12 World Sight Day

13  International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction

13-19 Anti-Poverty Week 

16 World Food Day

17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

19 – 27 Queensland Children’s  Week

24 United Nations Day 

24-30 Disarmament Week

26-Nov 2 National Unity Week

25  World Teacher’s Day ( Qld)

Just Dates September

September is

     Fathers Day

1 -7 Legacy  Week  /  Child Protection Week

2 – 8 National Stroke Week

3-10 National Threatened Species Week

6      Indigenous Literacy Day

    White Balloon Day

8     International Literacy Day 

10   World Suicide Prevention Day / RUOK Day

15 International Day of Democracy

15- 2World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel

16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

19 Australian Reading Hour

21 International Day of Peace

29 Death of John Pat in Roeburne Prison (1983) prompting the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

Local Events in and around Brisbane 

Just Dates August

Queensland Multicultural Month

28 July – 4 August Donate Life Week

1-World Breastfeeding Week

2-15 Fair Trade Fortnight

4 National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day

6 Hiroshima Day

4-10 Homelessness Week

8 Dying to Know Day

9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

10 – 18 National Science Week

12 International Youth Day 

14 Feast of Micah the Prophet

17 – 25 Seniors Week

17 – 23  Children’s Book Week

19 World Humanitarian Day / World Photo Day

23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

25 Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day

31 International Overdose Awareness Day 

Local Events in and around Brisbane 

NAIDOC Week 2019 Reflection

NAIDOC 2019

Another NAIDIC Week across the country has provided opportunities for sharing culture, community and the political reality of First Nations peoples in Australia.

I spent much of the week taking advantage of the many local events to immerse myself in relationships and awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Three moments stand out for me as highlights of the week:

On Monday of NAIDOC Week I attended the Brisbane Launch in City Hall. Later in the afternoon I dropped into a local city bar which is a favourite hangout. I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours around the brim. As I walked into the bar a women called out to me and admired the hat. She introduced herself as Jackie from the Torres Strait Islands and we chatted about some of the events scheduled for the week. Jackie insisted on a selfie with me in my hat and asking my name said she would tag me as “Uncle Tony Robertson” in her post. To be tagged and named as “Uncle” in such a way is an honour and a responsibility particularly as a white fella. This is the tag that some of the young Murris have also given me from our conversations and encounters on city streets.

The second moment happened on Friday of NAIDOC Week. I boarded a bus from my usual stop for the city and three young Murri boys sat a couple of seats in front of me. Again I was wearing my trademark hat with the Aboriginal colours which they noticed. After a few minutes one of the boys turned to me and asked where I got the hat. This was the beginning of a conversation that took us into the city over the next 25 minutes. We sat across two seats, a 66 year old white man and a young 18 year old holding the plastic bottle from which he inhaled as we spoke. It was a remarkable conversation about the reality of addiction, the alienation from culture and the families and people we knew in common. My phone camera with its collection of images of Aboriginal Elders is a great asset in these moments. The young man told me his name and proudly spoke of his tribal group for which he had a hand signal. He trusted me with. his personal details and I promised to look out for him if I was around the spaces he hangs out. We got off at the same stop but walked in different directions.

My third NAIDOC moment was on Friday evening at the launch of an art exhibition at the Francis Rush Cente for the Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group. I was honoured to do the Acknowledgement of Country. The place in which the exhibition was held also included works by well known Aboriginal artists. Judy Watson‘s Empire Stakes feature as part of Brisbane’s Heritage Trail and are installed just outside the Francis Rush Centre in the Cathedral Precinct.

The other Aboriginal artist whose work is currently displayed in the Francis Rush Centre but not mentioned in the online resource is Fiona Foley. A panel of the Cathedral art collection is a brief clue to the series that are mounted in what is now a foyer space:

The story of these beautiful works and their mistreatment is recorded strangely enough in the documentation published by those who agitated for the works removal from their original installation inside the Cathedral of St Stephen. Since their removal the works have suffered from neglect and abuse in unprofessional storage.

Telling the story of Fiona Foley’s was an important part of acknowledging that the voice and truth themes of NAIDOC 2019 will take all of us into uncomfortable places on the journey to reconciliation.

My images and captures of my support for events during NAIDOC 2019 are available here.

Just Dates July

In Brisbane  this is Black History Month

Celebrate Plastic Free July

7 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday / International Day of Co-operatives

7-14  NAIDOC Week

11 World Population Day

14-12 National Diabetes Week

18 International Nelson Mandela Day

28 National Tree Day

Local events in and around Brisbane

Just Dates June

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 

Anniversary of Mabo Decision (1992)

4 International Day of Innocent Children  / Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989

World Environment Day

8 World Oceans Day

10 Myall Creek Massacre

10-16 Men’s Health Week

12 World Day Against Child Labour

16 International Day of the African Child

16-22 Refugee Week

17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

20 World Refugee Day

23 United Nations Public Service Day

26 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking / International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

30 Introduction of Unemployment Benefits Australia

Some more Community Celebrations  you might like to mark with me!!