Patrick Johnson is currently the Coordinator of ARMtour (Athletes as Role Models) for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA). But many will know Flash PJ as the sprinter - once named 'the fastest man' - who represented Australia in the Olympic games in 2000. Either way, he's long been an inspiration to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, and today I am pleased to welcome him to my blog as part of National Reconciliation Week, 2012.
Here's Patrick's thoughts on 'Reconciliation and Recognition':
At first when people talk or ask me about reconciliation, I automatically think what does reconciliation really mean? And more importantly, what does is mean to me?
My personal definition is: Reconciliation is the opportunity and willingness of people from all cultural backgrounds to firstly be aware, and then, to really listen to each other. Only then can we truly respect one another and move forward to a better future for all.
My family are the Umpila and Kanji people and I have both Aboriginal and Irish heritage. I’m a proud Australian that has the best of both worlds. Which to me is the key for us as a nation to understand that we can only have reconciliation if we embrace being in both worlds.
Indigenous Australia needs to have recognition of what has happened in the past. When all Australian’s acknowledge this, we can make the necessary steps toward working together to solve current and future issues. We cannot work in isolation. Reconciliation can only be achieved when both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are willing to truly listen to each other, acknowledge our past, forgive and move forward together.
Hate breeds hate, love breeds love. We just need to remember to be positive and keep loving. That’s the only way we can truly live and grow as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and as a nation. Easier said than done, but I believe this is the first step as a nation to see the ‘rainbow of colours’ of people that make us Australian. When we truly see this as an awesome sight, Australia’s true colour of reconciliation is in us all.
What are your thoughts on Reconciliation and Recognition?