Wrestling with January 26

Every year when January 26 rolls around, I wrestle with two equal but opposing feelings.

The first is simple: I love Australia.

I’m the daughter of two immigrants who moved here in search of a better life. They knew very little English, had very little resources, but were able to build a better life than they would have otherwise. Australia in the 80s was much more accepting of mixed-race families like mine than in Holland, my Egyptian father didn’t stand out and was able to start multiple businesses without an ability to write or read English. Our family of five was welcomed, and I never doubted my place in Australia.

But it’s not just my parents’ story: I lived abroad in the US for 7 years and I deeply missed home. I realised how much I took for granted, like Medicare, superannuation, and friendly police officers. And despite (or because?) of our history, our culture is mostly brilliant: direct, honest, casual—and our ability to ‘take the piss’ is unmatched.

But equal to my pride and reverence for Australia is a deep pain, especially when we celebrate on January 26.

January 26 marks the beginning of the genocide of the world’s oldest continuing culture. It’s the beginning of the systematic, intentional murder, abuse and exploitation of Indigenous Australians. It marks the start of a drastic decline in the Indigenous population, with at least 20,000 Aboriginal people killed as a direct result of colonial violence.

It’s a date that has been protested since 1938, and only celebrated officially since 1994.

And as much as I love my country, I simply can no longer celebrate a day that is deeply painful to others.

At ntegrity, we’ve decided to approach January 26 differently:

  • We’ve decided to change the date ourselves. Our team has the option to work on January 26, and choose a different holiday in lieu. We’ve kept this as an option and not a requirement, so each person can make the right decision for themselves and their families (keeping in mind that childcare centers will be closed).
  • In the office this week, we’ve spent our lunches learning more about Australia’s history. “Pride or Pain?” and this video is a good place to start.
  • We’re trying to find ways to honour Indigenous Australians, as a start we’ve pulled together this playlist of indigenous artists to listen to in the office

Australia is a bit like my younger siblings. I love it dearly, and I don’t like any outsider’s criticism. But within the family, we need hard honest conversations about how we can do better.

I will be celebrating Australia but not on 26 January. I’ll whip out the BBQ on September 5th, the day my parents immigrated to Australia.

I’m not an expert on the complexities of our history or the journey to reconciliation. But I think the facts are strong enough that I hope you might reconsider celebrating on January 26th as well.

___

As a personal note, I’m really thankful to our clients Australians Together for encouraging and guiding us on this journey of discovery. It’s been an honour to come alongside and help tell the stories that need to be told.

About Us

Hi, we’re ntegrity, an award winning digital agency in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in digital strategy, digital marketing, and training, and aim to operate as an extension of your team.

You can read more about our story and team or explore what we offer.

These are the 3 areas to invest in for post-COVID digital success

COVID-19 has sparked global digital disruption—are you ready for a new future? The clearest outplay from COVID-19 is the seismic…

How to build a customer journey map to target your strategy

As any leader of an impact-led organisation can tell you, there can be an overwhelming number of customer touchpoints –…

8 emerging digital marketing trends in 2020 for not-for-profits

The global pandemic has meant 2020 is far from ‘business as usual’. The behaviours of everyday people have changed. In…

What we’ve learned from 115 days of live broadcasts

When COVID first hit, not-for-profits were thrown into the deep end. The ntegrity team wanted to help, but social distancing…

How to create compelling videos for your NFP (even while social distancing)

In the time of social distancing and lockdown measures, more than ever, video is queen. 7 million Aussies watched YouTube…

How to use empathy maps to think like your donors

Connecting with donors is as important as ever in our digitally-connected world. 76% of consumers now expect companies to understand…

Subscribe

Newsletter
Acquisition Campaign

An award-winning acquisition campaign that increased leads by 42%

WISE Employment is a leading disability employment services provider. Yet when their main referral source stopped providing them with leads, they partnered with us to develop a digital strategy and help execute the campaign to attract job seekers and employers, and fast.

View Case Study
As seen in