• (L-R) Culture Is Life ambassadors: Kodi, Luke and Lala (Supplied)Source: Supplied
A new campaign launched by youth organisation, Culture is Life, says that it's time for change - in our conversations.
Sophie Verass

25 Jan 2018 - 10:03 AM  UPDATED 25 Jan 2018 - 11:48 AM

How do you think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and friends feel about the nation celebrating Australia Day on January 26?

Youth self-harm and suicide prevention organisation, Culture is Life is encouraging people to come on a journey of understanding and engage in conversations about why it might be time for a change. 

Their recent campaign, It's Time for Change doesn't simply drive the message that changing the date of Australia Day is attractive to many, but that the conversations around this date need changing.

It's Time to have a conversation; It's Time to become aware of other people; It's Time to listen to First Nations' People; It's Time to really think about what impact Australia Day has on Aboriginal young people. 

Using a series of person-to-camera videos and one of non-Indigenous and Indigenous friends discussing the Australia Day contention with one another, the message for this campaign was born from Culture is Life's 'Culture Squad', a group of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are "the heartbeat" of the organisation. 

Katie Symes, General Manager of Culture Is Life, says that the responses and ideas from Culture Squad leaders reflect conversations they and other young Indigenous people have with friends, colleagues and classmates. In this instance, the topic was the date of Australia Day. 

"It's a heavy weight on our young peoples shoulders, to have these conversations time and time again," Symes told NITV. "They talked about those 'ah-huh' moments, when a non-Indigenous friend realise the pain that is caused by the rest of the nation throwing a party on 26 January, and decided to capture [these moments] and share them to spread the message in the hope that more Australians will lead the conversation."

Symes said that the campaign - which has recieved 33K views on a single video - has had very positive reception and the momentum building on their social media channels and through media interest has been rewarding. 

"We knew this campaign would generate discussion, particularly on social media and that's what we want," she said.

"We want to inspire conversations about the impact that 26 January is having on our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. We're just asking people to have think about how our young people feel. We're asking people to consider the facts." 

"We want to inspire conversations about the impact that 26 January is having on our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. We're just asking people to have think about how our young people feel. We're asking people to consider the facts, remember and understand our history, connect and care for all Australians and unite and celebrate our shared cultural lineage."

Culture is Life's strong focus on young people comes from their commitment to combating the staggering rates of youth suicide and self-harm amongst First Nations People and particularly, First Nations youth. The organisation practices by supporting and promoting Aboriginal-led solutions to strengthen and affirm culture. 

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pepole carry a heavy cultural load on 26 January. This is a day of remembrance. Young people feel the pain of their ancestors and mourn the losses that have come with colonisation," Symes explained. 

"But they may also have a desire to celebrate Australia with their non-Aboriginal friends, but they may also feel excluded from this day of national celebrations.

"We are seeing a shift and believe the next generation is seeking a national day that celebrates Australia for its rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, and for its culturally diverse future."

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