News • 27 May 2021

Reflecting on National Reconciliation Week’s theme

Open Minds Lifestyle Planning Administrator, Karen, took some time this week to share her thoughts on Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

Karen said, “For me, this year’s theme is really about acceptance and acknowledgment so that we can achieve goals to reconcile Australia.”

She further explains, “It’s about sharing experiences about my mob and my country, which includes talking about atrocities against Aboriginal people and acknowledging that these things happened.

“When we share this history – telling the truth about the bad and the good – we all learn together so that we move towards a better future”, she said.

Karen was born in Atherton, North Queensland where her grandfather, who is 95 years old, is a Yidinji Elder. 

She has hundreds of family predominately living in Cairns and Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland and the Northern Territory, Katherine and Darwin, but when growing up she was fortunate to experience living in many locations throughout Queensland as well as Canberra, ACT as her dad was required to travel for work. 

“My Dad taught me the importance of accepting who I am – I will always be Aboriginal wherever I go and whatever I do – and understanding the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures”, Karen said.

Karen’s clan is from the Rainforest People, Mbabaram, and she believes this link to her past is why she loves everything green, including peace and tranquillity.

Karen joined Open Minds about six weeks ago, bringing with her a vast array of experience from many industries, and is excited about her role in supporting the Lifestyle Planning team.

Lifestyle Planners are an integral part of the NDIS process, helping participants to plan how to get the best possible support from Open Minds. 

Karen said, “I recently lost a cousin to suicide and knowing I am working for an organisation that supports mental health is particularly important to me.” 

“I’m so fortunate to be part of a supportive and caring team at the Morayfield Mental Health Hub and I’ve found myself more relaxed and laughing with colleagues,” Karen said.

While she greatly misses her home, she is excited to be planning another visit to North Queensland later this year.  

2021 marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.

Learn more about National Reconciliation Week here.
View the Map of Indigenous Australia.

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