March 24 is Close the Gap Day, a chance to highlight the significant work being done to improve Indigenous health and life expectancy in Australia.
All across the country local organisations and communities
are working to ensure the next generation of Indigenous kids can grow up to be healthy, happy, adults with all of the opportunities others take for granted.
For example, support from The Fred Hollows Foundation has ensured that Indigenous people from remote communities in northern Australia have been able to experience culture, entertainment and health promotion messages first-hand during national tours by The Black Arm Band.
The Black Arm Band is a group of Australia’s finest Indigenous musicians—including Archie Roach, Shellie Morris, Emma Donovan and Dan Sultan—who travel far and wide to promote and celebrate new Indigenous sounds and to encourage the spirit of reconciliation.
The West Australian newspaper recently said of the band: “It’s an uplifting experience that says more about black and white solidarity than a million parliamentary speeches”.
The film of their recent tour to rural and remote areas, called Murundak, meaning “alive’ in the Woirurrung language, is released in cinemas this month and tells the uplifting story of dusty roads, struggle, identity, strength and song.
The Foundation’s support enabled access to the band and their messages for people in the bush, who are so often deprived of life-affirming representations of culture and access to strong role models.
“The Black Arm Band tour has brought joy and culture and a greater sense of identity for those thousands of people who have witnessed it,” says The Foundation’s development coordinator in the Top End, Mia Christophersen.
“And the band brings with it a real sense of reconciliation because both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have seen the concerts and responded with love, reflection and, at times, a little bit of sorrow,” Christophersen said.
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