My people, my people by Banok Rind

25.02.21 SHARE

My people, my people by Banok Rind

Koorie Youth Council

I come from a long line of staunch, grounded and strong Aboriginal women and men.

My grandmother Marian Martin was known to be the epitome of strength. Through her trials and hardships, she stood strong, she stood proud and it was through the love and care for her family and her community she protected her babies, her family and her community.

From her I have learned strength.

I have learned that when there is pain, there is hope. When there is hope, there is reason, wisdom and purpose.

What we do as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and especially as Aboriginal women, is not planning for the now but for the next five generations ahead. With that, I carry my old people’s strength every single day and that strength and passion is what led me to work at KYC and continues to be my fuel that just keeps me going in all I do.

My grandfather Badoola was known to be the staunch warrior in our community. A hardworking and grounded man who continued to strive to protect his mayus/buwas (children) from a system that attempted to take away who they are.

From him I have learned to be grounded and staunch especially when challenges arise because without remaining grounded and staunch, I will lose who I am.

It doesn’t matter how far ahead my journey goes, if I am not grounded and humble then I will lose myself along the way.

Every single day I am reminded of why I am here. I am reminded of what the generations before me fought for, what my mothers and fathers fought for and what we continue to strive for. I am here, still standing but fighting the same fight we have been for generations.

Through the strength, wisdom and love from my old people I am here. Through their wisdom and knowledge, I am here.

Our young people are here because of the legacies of our old people and in them I see the strength, wisdom and purpose that drives our people as a collective.

I am always reminded of the wisdom and strength of our people, you see it in all of our mob, generations of staunch and passionate people who walk in the footsteps of our old people.

Throughout my time at KYC no matter when, I looked to my left, I looked to my right, and I saw our young people standing strong, standing proud and standing still.

I learned as a Yamatji Badimaya nyarlu (woman), my voice and what I do has rippling effects. When we create rippling effects, it’s the passing of knowledge and strength from one to another. This was and still isn’t just a job. It’s a platform and position of leadership to elevate a voice that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people already have.

You are surrounded by support, surrounded by care and love so if you ever have a moment of shame to step up, you are encouraged and celebrated by KYC executive and staff because what you say and what you do creates impact.

My last three years at KYC as the Deputy Executive Officer have been a journey of constant learning, self-reflection and being blessed to work alongside amazing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people every single day. With this, I give extensive gratitude to every single person I have met and learned from.

I need to especially give my gratitude to all people of the Kulin Nations who have welcomed me to their beautiful country and given me permission to learn from here. Thank you.

So whilst I depart ways from KYC, this isn’t goodbye.

To quote one of my favourites, Malcolm X: “if you want something you better make some noise” and to quote Rumi: “Raise your words, not your voice for it is rain that grows flowers not thunder”.

With this I say to all of our young people: elevate your voices through your words because you have wisdom, you are staunch and you are still here. You matter.