Proud members of the Gunaikurnai mob, Knox Citizen of the Year Ricky Baldwin and his mother Mary Helen Darby (Baldwin) live with first-hand experience of the Stolen Generations.
Helen was removed from her family at birth and told that her mother was dead. She didn’t meet her siblings until her teens and 20s. The family feels the impacts of these atrocities today.
Council will mark National Sorry Day on Friday 26 May with a community ceremony at the Knox Civic Centre from 10am.
“It's important because we get the politicians to say sorry to us for … things done to us,” Helen says.
“It takes away part of the hurt that's happened to me over the years. It takes away the hurt and I can be proud to be an Aboriginal woman.
“I'd like to say thank you for letting me have my voice and to be heard about Sorry Day, which is very important to me because Kevin Rudd said sorry and he meant it from the heart. I treasure that forever, that somebody said, sorry.”
Ricky says Sorry Day means acknowledging the wrongs of the past with the Stolen Generations.
“There's still a lot of work to be done in the space with truth telling but I think we’re on the right track,” he says.
“From my personal experience, from my aunties and uncles who are part of it, and my beautiful mum, we need to acknowledge it and more education of what happened to all of the Australian Indigenous mob who are part of the Stolen Gen’.
Ricky credited Council for using significant days to further truth-telling.
“It's a huge step that Knox are been so proactive in supporting the local Indigenous community, acknowledging the wrongs of the past,” he says.
“It's through … such important days where we can educate and hear from our Elders because the elders are the ones who have the lived experiences and when the elders pass down their knowledge and educate people, there's more empathy when people understand about real truth-telling.
“There is still a lot of ignorance when people say, ‘Oh, move on, just get over it.’ Through true truth-telling, we can move forward and educate all Australians on the wrongs of the past.”
We recognise Sorry Day for local community members like Helen and Ricky and thank them for sharing their story.