• Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea, and daughter Yolanda. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Victorian Elders and community members got to meet Martin Luther King III at a Sorry Day dinner in Melbourne over the weekend.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

29 May 2018 - 1:06 PM  UPDATED 29 May 2018 - 1:06 PM

About 100 Elders and members of the Victorian Aboriginal community gathered at a Melbourne hotel for the annual National Sorry Day dinner, and were abuzz with their special guest.

Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea, and daughter Yolanda had happened to be in the country, and contacted event organiser Aunty Daria Atikinson in the lead up to secure a table.

Mr King told NITV News he was ‘honoured’ to be in attendance, and after speaking with Elders at the event, he said it was clear more needed to be done towards reconciliation in Australia, comparing it to his own country.

"What is consistently heard is that there's still tremendous mistreatment that still takes place and at some point you wonder when injustice stops occurring to people,” Mr King said.

“Obviously we still have many problems occurring in the United States as well, but I feel like oppressed people around the world are joining hands in the struggle and are standing up against systems that are oppressive and suppressive, and basically stating that those things, we're not going to accept anymore.

"This community, this nation, as our own nation, still has progress that must be made to really make everyone whole, to make every human being stand up.”

The dinner was hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, with the success of the event credited to Aunty Daria.

Aunty Di Atkinson opened the event with a Welcome to Country, followed by performances from Uncle Murray Harrison, Uncle Archie Roach, and Uncle Kutcha Edwards.

But while Elders were happy to have family and friends travel from all over the state and country, no one had forgotten the reason for gathering in the first place.

"I must say Government needs to start standing up and acknowledging Stolen Generations, and start compensating us for the shocking incarceration, the humiliation, everything being removed from our families alone, it's just a shocking day in our very dark history," Aunty Lyn Austin said.

Uncle Talgium Edwards said that he's disappointed that child removals are still happening in today's society.

"Sorry day means to me that it's never to happen again," Uncle Talgium Edwards said.

"It's very saddening to hear that it's still going on, that our children are still being taken away and we're forced to apply to these whitefullas way of life.

"It's never worked, you know? It never worked with me, I don't think it works with any other people. All it's been is a trail of disaster."

Martin Luther King III will be visiting communities in Alice Springs, Uluru, and Margaret River before heading back to his home in the United States.

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