A YES vote – Grassroots and corporate working & walking together!

A YES vote – Grassroots and corporate working & walking together, by Robyn Hutchinson

This is a brief reflection on a few events and activities over the past few weeks in NSW.

A few of us could barely contain our excitement at the event we attended on November 16, hosted by Gilbert & Tobin Law & the Fred Hollows Foundation. This event launched a coalition of allies – corporate and grassroots, to achieve a YES vote in the referendum in 2023. Minister, Linda Burney, Aunty Pat Anderson and Prof Megan Davis endorsed and launched this initiative.   Watch this space in 2023!

This last minute invitation came in the context of a month or so of amazing events, local activities, and addresses, including Noel Pearson’s Boyer Lectures & Larrissa Baldwin’s (GetUp) Charles Perkins Oration. Events on Gadigal land, that many of us have been involved have included: making contact with many new grassroots folk as well as a number of high profile folk, and political  leaders.  Attending local events such as Saturday markets, with conversation and flyers, as well our presence at public events is key to the continuing task of raising awareness.  It is the YES vote of non-Indigenous Australians that will win the upcoming referendum. The many relationships being built successfully with local Councils in cities and the regions continues.

The ANTaR 25th Anniversary& Sea of Hands celebration was held in Canberra in October. This two day event was an opportunity for presentation by key thinkers and leaders of this movement. Participants re-created a wonderful Sea Of Hands on the lawn. The gala dinner was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Minister Linda Burney, and continue the networking!

A Public Forum was held in Marrickville Town Hall in June, and the subsequent Citizens Assembly launch of the Walking Together Training for 1000 people, initially in the Inner West in October. Nicole Laupepe and Jacquie Parker have been invited by the Mayor, Mr Darcy Byrnes and Minister Linda Burney to lead this initiative. Nicky and Jacquie are members of Sydney Alliance and our Voice from the heart Alliance. Many of our members attended both events. There is growing interest from other councils to implement similar learning opportunities with their communities.

The two Sydney Peace Prize events, where the prize was awarded to The Uluru Statement from the Heart, were amazing opportunities to attend, listen, learn, volunteer and network – which is exactly what many of us did.

The PROTEST event, at Carriageworks, with Thomas Mayo’s amazing ‘Provocation’ followed by Voice Yarning Circles, were facilitated by a number of Voice from the heart Alliance volunteers, including Aunty Ali and Aunty Dolly.  This model of ‘Provocation’ followed by facilitated Yarning Circles, where smaller groups of local folk can explore and dialogue about the Uluru Voice to Parliament proposal, is a powerful model for raising community awareness!

This is a real sign of the coming together of the corporate and grassroots as the Yes Voice movement gains momentum. The CORPORATE & GRASSROOTS must ‘walk together’ to support the Australian people in understanding why a Yes vote is so important to the future of this country.

The Voice from the Heart Alliance (VfthA) formed 18 months ago when a few networks got together to form this Alliance to amplify the key message of the reason for voting YES. We now have a website, newsletter and a growing facebook presence. We are committed to supporting grassroots folks and organizations across the country. We focus on action in three key arenas; Parliamentary Advocacy, Public Awareness and National Networking.

We are grateful for the formal lead being taken in this coalition by the Fred Hollows Foundation and Gilbert & Tobin Law and the Sydney Peace Prize. The reach of our VfthA networks will be greatly amplified, as we walk together with the support of the corporate world.

And we remember ‘We just turn a NO into a YES!’ – to quote Aunty Pat Anderson!