I awoke on the 15th of October with a heavy heart, weighed down by the sombre sadness that is felt throughout a lot of communities within Australia. I’m sharing these thoughts with you because the months and weeks leading up to this referendum have been challenging for First Nations people. To be honest, it’s been a tough time for my family and me as well. The referendum brought to the fore a range of unconscious bias and a new platform for disappointing political opinion at a time when it became a distraction from the potential good that could come from a Yes outcome.

I’m fortunate that within this organisation, I feel safe to be sharing my feelings today and for that I am grateful, CSIA has also provided me with the opportunity to travel to remote communities and witness the daily inequities and challenges faced by many, the privileges that so many of us are able to take for granted. Australia is home to a diverse population, a shared land but not a shared history, my hope from this referendum was that people would have learned that giving others a voice doesn’t diminish their own.

This brings me to my point: CSIA is on the path to become a strong ally for First Nations people in Australia, this has been shown through first nations organisations wanting to work alongside us but also with us, the strengthening of our RAP and our cultural safety. I want to express my gratitude to each of you for using your platforms and voices, both personally and professionally. First Nations people have been walking this path for generations, and we will continue to do so. Having friends join us on this journey may, in the future, make the difference between “yes” and “no.”

Written by Cassie Brophy, Regional Development Officer at CSIA. Cassie is a proud Yir Yorant woman, living and working on the lands of the Darumbal People.