I remember the day Kevin Rudd said sorry. I was ten, I took the day off school and watched it with my sister, my mother and my grandmother. I remember feeling conflicted. Was it a celebration? Why am I crying?
I felt hopeful yes, as a man in power who looked like all of the men with power did something for us -not them- but I couldn’t shift this sense of mourning, the looming doubt. I cried and I cried for strangers, all of it confused me. I’ve slowly come to learn that the conflict I felt is the reality of being a blak woman in this country. That we encounter, endure even others walking the tightrope, trying to get to the right side history.
I understand now that it wasn’t just about what was happening on television. That I’m twenty two now and know that moment was just another counterpart walking the tightrope. What was just as important, what I take with me is the three generations of First Nations women, that came together and found the strength to feel hope, sadness, doubt openly and through each other. That we always have each other.
Today I acknowledge my ancestors before me who were taken from their families and country, those who were able to find their loved ones and the work it takes to feel at home again. I pay my respects to those who didn’t make it back to us. I acknowledge that sorry means you don’t do it again, and I think of our babies that are taken still.