I think the best thing about living in Australia is that we are so diverse, and we need to embrace that.
We don’t need to single each other out for having different colour hair, or if we’ve got freckles, or if we’ve got different colour skin – we need to be all inclusive.
In the AFL, we don’t judge or discriminate – if you’re good enough to play AFL on your own merits, then we don’t care where you come from, what racial background you are from, or what religious beliefs you hold.
Growing up with an Indigenous background, I’ve been racially abused. Having gone through the process of talking to the people who have taunted me through counselling, most of it comes back to education.
They’re uneducated and they think it’s a way of getting one up on you, but when you talk with them about how it affects you, your people and your culture, they get a better understanding of what they are actually saying when they racially vilify you.
I know in my instances, the people who have done it once, they tend not to do it again after hearing how it actually hurts me.
Dual Essendon premiership player, Michael Long made an amazing point in 2004 by walking from Melbourne to Canberra to go and talk to Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, about Indigenous issues.
Long’s stance has since grown into The Long Walk to Dreamtime at the ‘G and it’s fantastic the support that it is getting, the people that are getting behind it and the awareness that it is raising for Indigenous issues and I fully support it.
Another important event is starting on Monday 27 May – National Reconciliation Week. It’s a time to reflect on the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
With any campaign you need people to support it and you need people to get the message out there.
In March this year, Telstra were proud to become supporters of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ campaign, helping more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable in our community and empower people and organisations to prevent and respond effectively to racism.
Personally, I think there’s no better person or organisation to connect this message with the people of Australia than Telstra.
They’ve built a strong relationship with Australians as the heart of what they do is to connect people, and it’s just fantastic to have their support for the campaign.
When you get a big company connecting people the way that Telstra do, they’ve got to believe in the message. Once you step up and say ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’, the expectation is that everyone at Telstra – their people and everyone who is associated with them – stands up for treating people with respect and dignity, regardless of their background and experiences.
Whether you do it at your organisation, or you follow in Telstra’s footstep and become a proud sponsor of it, it’s a matter of making a pledge and then living and dying by your word. I’ve come forward and pledged ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ having been verbally abused, and I would never want to make anyone feel the way other people have made me feel.
– Adam Goodes
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