26 January is a day of mourning. It is not a day to celebrate.

The day symbolises the violent dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their land, the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their families and communities, and the attempted erasure of their culture.

This year the date also marks the 50-year anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, a permanent protest against the Australian Government’s approach to land rights and unjust treatment of Aboriginal people.

YACVic staff will be working on 26 January, and we urge our members and other organisations to do the same.  Staff will take a day’s leave at another time.

We also encourage young people and the youth sector to be strong allies and show solidarity with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in your communities and lives. That allyship and solidarity should also extend beyond 26 January – it should be every day.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Ask your local MP where they stand on Aboriginal justice
  • Support Aboriginal-owned businesses, non-profits and creatives
  • Educate yourself on truth-telling about Australia’s dark history (don’t ask an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to educate you!) Find out more here
  • Contribute to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led campaign
  • Use your platforms to spread the word and show solidarity

Read more about how you can be a better non-Indigenous ally here.

We applaud and support the dedicated people working tirelessly to change minds, change laws and change systems.

We call on federal, state, and local governments to enable true sovereignty and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.