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National Sorry Day breaks down barriers

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FEROS CARE held a National Sorry Day community event, in Bowen, on Friday, May 26.

It was held in partnership with Whitsunday Regional Council and supported by Juru Traditional Owners and the Girudala Cooperative Society.

The event was attended by more than 100 people, including Traditional Owner Darryl Paul and Whitsunday Regional Councillor Michelle Wright.

Marketing specialist for Feros Care Leticia Ramos said the event also promoted emotional wellbeing.

⁠”We acknowledged and honoured the Stolen Generations, and held the event to promote awareness of social and emotional wellbeing and support services, in Bowen and surrounding regions,” she said.

There were guest speakers, a smoking ceremony, traditional dancing, kids’ activities, storytelling from Traditional Owners and Elders, and the Connection Tree Opening Ceremony. 

Feros Care’s First Nations Community Development coordinator Jean Andersen was the coordinator for the tree project and opened the event.

She spoke on behalf of the community with the support from Juru and Girudala people, about what is needed for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, what it lacks, the barriers for the mob, and how Feros Care and partners can help by removing those barriers.

The Connect Tree was officially opened by Juru Traditional Owner Darryl Paul and Councillor Michelle Wright.

“We were honoured to have Aunty Janice, a Kuku-Yalanji Traditional Owner and a Stolen Generation, share her story with the community about the trauma and struggles as a survivor,” Ms Andersen said.

“We had Jordan Harris and Danzel Lewis, from Bowen State High School, give speeches about the Stolen Generation, making sure their voices are heard leading up to Reconciliation Week.”

Cr Michelle Wright delivered a speech acknowledging Stolen Generation and National Sorry Day and the importance of the day for the community. 

Friday’s event saw many organisations attend, such as Girudala, Herbert Street Family Medical Centre, Selectability, Headspace, Proserpine Youth Space, Queensland Health, and the Queensland Health Deadly Choices team.

“It was amazing to see the community come together to acknowledge the strength and resilience of the Stolen Generations survivors, especially schools taking part, as they are our future hopes, aspirations, and future leaders,” Ms Andersen said.

“A special mention to Bowen Woolworths for their kind donation of items for the sausage sizzle for the community, the Bowen Seagulls Junior Rugby League Club, Monika Piggott and Eddie Telford for their time in holding activities throughout the day for the community members. 

“Thanks also to Zion Prior and Juru Traditional Dancers and Paul Samuels for the entertainment.”

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