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    Reflecting on Sorry Day: Honouring the Stolen Generations

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Link-Up (Qld) CEO Pat Thompson AM recently spoke with ABC Brisbane about the significance of Sorry Day and the important work Link-Up (Qld) has been undertaking for the past 40 years. Sorry Day is a pivotal moment for acknowledging the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families, known as the Stolen Generations.

Last Friday, a Sorry Day breakfast event was held at Orleigh Park in West End, Brisbane, organised by Link-Up (Qld). The event brought together over 200 community members to honour the resilience of the Stolen Generations and share their stories. Speaking at the event, Ms. Thompson emphasised the importance of this day and the ongoing work of the organisation.

“Today is about commemorating our Stolen Generations. We’ve heard powerful stories from individuals like Ross Andrews, the former mayor of Yarrabah, who shared how his grandfather was removed not once, but twice. Through the work of Link-Up (Qld), we were able to find his grave and reconnect his family with him.”

Orleigh Park holds historical significance, as it was once the site of Cranbrook House, where young Aboriginal girls were sent to work in conditions resembling slavery. Patricia’s great-grandmother was one of those girls, taken from Far North Queensland and brought to Brisbane. Each year, Link-Up (Qld) researchers work to locate descendants of these girls, allowing them to share their stories and reconnect with their heritage.

Pat highlighted the ongoing efforts of Link-Up (Qld), which was established 40 years ago to help reconnect members of the Stolen Generations with their families and communities. “Link-Up (Qld) was established before the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing Them Home report. We’re still doing really important work, providing clients with detailed research reports that connect them back to their families and country.”

However, despite the progress made, there is still much work to be done.

“We have made good progress, but there are still outstanding recommendations from the Bringing Them Home report and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The recent referendum shows us that there is still a big gap, and we need to work to close that gap.”

Sorry Day, followed by Reconciliation Week, serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their history. We hope that Aboriginal people will be recognised for their rightful place in our society. Treating Aboriginal people with respect will bring greater respect in return.

As we reflect on Sorry Day, let us honour the resilience of the Stolen Generations, acknowledge the trans-generational trauma that continues, and commit to ongoing reconciliation and healing.

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