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Sea of support for reconciliation

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Hundreds of hands waved in the wind to recognise National Reconciliation Week in Newcastle.

Samaritans hosted two events at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Wallsend, and Christ Church Cathedral, wherein the Sea of Hands were planted outside.

The Sea of Hands was first installed in front of Parliament House, Canberra, on 12 October 1997 as a powerful statement of solidarity with Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s temporary public installation of 800 hands aims to bring people together to express a strong symbol of reconciliation.

The theme for Reconciliation Week 2019, which went from 27 May to 3 June, was ‘Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage.’

Samaritans chief executive, Brad Webb, said reconciliation could only be achieved if there was trust.

“And trust requires the courage to have an honest, open conversation about our history,” he said.
“My hope is that the Sea of Hands inspires our community to take an active part in this conversation.”

The start and end of Reconciliation Week commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

“Two years ago, we reached another milestone with the delivery of the Uluru Statement from the Heart providing Australia with a clear way forward to deliver reconciliation,” Mr Webb added.

“We are asking the newly elected Morrison government to be courageous and take the next steps to bring the Uluru Statement to life.”
It came as Mr Morrison appointed Ken Wyatt in his ministry as the first Indigenous member of parliament under the portfolio of Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

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