July [-0-] CELEBRATING BLAK HISTORY MONTH

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised this article may contain images and references to the deceased.

#1 July 2011

Australian Aborigines Progressive Association

The Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA) – Originally formed in 1924 by Fred Maynard, a prolific member of the Australian Chapter of the Colored Progressive Association (1903-08). The AAPA was launched in April 1925 with a conference at St David’s Hall in Surry Hills NSW. It operated out of Addison’s Hall at 460 Crown Street, Surry Hills.

The AAPA held four major landmark conferences, amongst the many other undertakings Their activities culminated in a petition addressed to Jack Lang, the Premier of New South Wales, in May 1927, which called for the restitution of Aboriginal land. Their members had also written an appeal to King George V, which contested the power of the Aborigines Protection Board to withdraw Aboriginal control of reserves on the grounds that they had been granted by Queen Victoria.

The association grew to have eleven branches throughout New South Wales and over 500 active members. However the broad reach and vocal approach of the organisation alerted the Aborigines Protection Board to the threat that it posed. They set about a campaign to discredit the leaders of the association, attacking the credibility of Fred Maynard through a series of public statements. The association was also subject to frequent police harassment. Due to this harassment, by the end of 1927, the AAPA had been dissolved.

Today, the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association is recognised as the first United politically organised Aboriginal activist group in Australia.

Would you like to read more about this Great Moment in Blakistory …
· http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/australian_aborigines_progressive_association
· asset0.aiatsis.gov.au:1801/webclient/DeliveryManager?&pid=18787

The Great Turning

The Great Turning
You’ve asked me to tell you of the Great Turning, of how we saved the world from disaster. The answer is both simple and complex:

We turned.

For hundreds of years we had turned
away as life on earth grew more precarious.
We turned away from the homeless men on the streets, the stench from the river, the children orphaned in Iraq, the mothers dying of AIDS in Africa.

We turned away because that is what we had been taught.
To turn away, from the pain, from the hurt in another’s eyes, from the drunken father or the friend betrayed. Always we were told, in actions louder than words, to turn away, turn away. And so we became a lonely people caught up in a world moving too quickly, too mindlessly toward its own demise.

Until it seemed as if there was no safe place to turn. No place, inside or out, that did not remind us of fear or terror, despair and loss, anger and grief.

Yet on one of those days someone did turn.

Turned to face the pain.
Turned to face the stranger.
Turned to look at the smoldering world
and the hatred seething in too many eyes.
Turned to face himself, herself.

And then another turned.
And another. And another.
And as they wept, they took
each other’s hands.

Until whole groups of people were turning.
Young and old, gay and straight. People
of all colors, all nations, all religions.
Turning not only to the pain and hurt
but to the beauty, gratitude and love.
Turning to one another with
forgiveness and a longing
for peace in their hearts.

At first the turning made people dizzy, even silly. There were people standing to the side gawking, criticizing, trying to knock the turners down.
But the people turning kept getting up, kept helping one another to their feet. Their
Laughter and kindness brought others into the turning circle until even the naysayers began to smile and sway.

As the people turned, they began to spin, reweaving the web of life, mending the shocking tears, knitting it back together with the colors of the earth, sewing on tiny mirrors so the beauty of each person, each creature, each plant, each life form might be seen and respected.

And as the people turned, as they spun
like the earth through the universe, the web wrapped around them like a soft baby blanket, making it clear all were loved, nothing separate.
As this love reached into every crack and crevice, the people began to wake and wonder, to breathe and give thanks, to work and celebrate together.
And so the world was saved, but only as long as you, too, sweet one, remember to turn.

–written by Christine Fry (October 19, 2004)