Published Friday 17 March 2017
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On Tuesday 7 March, the Wesley Mission Queensland Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was officially launched by CEO Geoff Batkin, Mark Furner MP, Minister for Local Government and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, and guests from across our organisation, including those involved in creating the RAP, friends, artists and members of the local community.
The launch was celebrated through an Indigenous art exhibition held at the Art from the Margins Fortitude Valley studio, and featured the piece ‘Beauty in Diversity’ by Luke Mallie, which has been created as a part of our reconciliation journey.
Luke says his piece was inspired by the bright future he sees through the development of our RAP.
“As soon as I read the brief a vision of nature came up and the bright colours represent the future to me, even now the present and moving forward seems bright in comparison to the past,” Luke said. “I wanted to make it different to other Aboriginal art work.”
Geoff Batkin, Chief Executive Officer of Wesley Mission Queensland, says the artwork is a visual representation of our commitment to moving forward.
“Wesley Mission Queensland is an integral part of the Uniting Church in Australia. Our purpose is to participate in the mission of God towards reconciliation, transformation, justice and hope for all people,” Mr Batkin said.
“By taking action, we as an organisation can make a significant contribution and lend our voice to positive change."
During the past year, Wesley Mission Queensland has been developing an organisation-wide RAP program. The RAP documents our commitment to building respectful relationships and creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through measurable actions and practical solutions.
To develop the RAP, a working group made up of various WMQ staff members and community members met regularly to discuss a collective vision for reconciliation that the organisation as a whole can work towards.
"We worked together over several months, and it has been an incredible journey of learning for all of us," said Steve Eltis, Wesley Mission Queensland's Director of People and Culture.
The group met at different locations around Brisbane and spoke with Aboriginal elders from the tribes that call each location home. These elders shared their stories, explaining the significance of the land on which each meeting took place, and gave their own vision for reconciliation.
In Aboriginal culture, the land is fundamental to the wellbeing of Aboriginal people. The people and the land are intrinsically linked, and meeting places act as a conduit to connect the land and the people together. Meeting places are significant; they are where different tribes from different countries come together to sit, connect and share through storytelling and other forms of expression, such as music and dance. By coming together at these meeting places and hearing the stories of our local elders, the story of our own journey has begun to take shape.
From these meetings, we have developed our vision:
Wesley Mission Queensland’s vision for reconciliation is for all people to stand unified in an equal and inclusive future. We commit to enhancing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and celebrating diversity.
A big thank you to everyone who was involved in the process of developing our RAP. We look forward to keeping you updated on our commitment to reconciliation.
Read more about our Reconciliation Action Plan.