May 26 marks National Sorry Day, a day in which we remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia’s history.
Both National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3) are incredibly important to Kim Browne.
Kim is a First Nations person, researcher in early childhood education and critical disability, and client of Seeing Eye Dogs who has been matched with Seeing Eye Dog Raya.
“It’s a day of healing, and connection within the community but also broadly within Australia,” Kim said.
“It acknowledges the harm and hurt of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and suggests that amends a journey towards amendments being made between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.,” she said.
National Sorry Day has been held on May 26 each year since 1998 and remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.
In recent years, Kim has said it has also become an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reflect on the National Apology to the Stolen Generations given by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.
“It’s an incredibly special day where Australia as a nation, and the Rudd government, took the step to apologise. It’s incredibly important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that this step was taken. It’s made a big difference, enabling people to have a culturally safe space to heal, and this recognition made that happen.”
The recent increase in telehealth service delivery that has been brought on by COVID-19 is something that Kim would like to see continuing. She believes it could directly enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote locations.
“People in remote communities can continuously have access to the services of Vision Australia. I hope that Vision Australia can work towards a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be able to assist clients in more remote areas and areas where there are particular disadvantages for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people such as remote schools and early childhood communities.
“I’d like to see Vision Australia continuing to work with any of these communities, supporting those seeking further education and supportive assistance. It is very valuable to have this service.”
Kim has only been matched with Raya for a little under a year, but she has already made a huge impact in Kim’s life.
“Raya has settled in very well. Post pandemic we’ll be out and about a bit more. She has been a very positive impact in my life.”