Caritas Australia Walks As One with the World's Indigenous Peoples



Walk As One News Story
Cardinal Rodriguez speaking at the launch. Photo: Caritas Australia

The launch of Caritas Australia’s new advocacy campaign has lived up to its own name: Walk As One – connecting with the world’s Indigenous Peoples.

There was a true sense of warmth among guests and Caritas staff heard moving speeches by the visiting president of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga and Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot.

Held on the riverside rooftop of St Aloysius College with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, Cardinal Rodriguez mingled with around 100 guests who turned out in solidarity with the world’s Indigenous Peoples.

Respects were made to the site’s traditional owners, the Gadigal people, and the audience was shown a powerful film where two Indigenous men travelled from a remote Northern Territory community to meet the people of an Indigenous community in the Bolivian Amazon.

Visiting from his home in Honduras, Cardinal Rodriguez had just returned from a visit to Uluru where he had witnessed firsthand Caritas Australia’s Indigenous programs.

“Welcome and thank you to everybody for coming here together on such a wonderful night. We must understand and respect the importance of the cultures of all of our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters, across God’s world, by standing in solidarity as one humanity,” Cardinal Rodriguez told the captive audience.

“I have just returned from Central Australia and I have seen Caritas Australia’s programs there. I have learned so much, not just about the challenges facing Australia’s First Peoples, but, more importantly, about what can be achieved when we come together as One Human Family.

“These programs in Alice Springs are proof of a future where we create One Human Family, Zero Poverty for the world’s Indigenous Peoples and for everyone.”

Mr de Groot followed the Cardinal describing the launch as the beginning of a very important journey.

“The stories tonight are extraordinary. The presence of everyone here makes for the perfect opening to a campaign that seeks change for the world’s Indigenous Peoples – who are so unjustly over-represented among the poorest of the poor,” Mr de Groot said.

“The purpose of tonight is to celebrate Indigenous cultures everywhere and to engage the Catholic community and all Australians in a very important campaign. The campaign seeks real and lasting change by standing in solidarity with the world’s Indigenous Peoples. Tonight is a tremendous start but it will be what we do from here that counts.”

Seeking transformational change

Indigenous people make up about 15 per cent of the world’s poor and over a third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural populations. The majority are living within Australia’s own region, Asia.

Walk As One seeks transformational change in communities and businesses, promoting positive engagement with Indigenous-led initiatives and organisations while encouraging best practise concerning private sector operations on Indigenous territories around the world.

Participants in Walk As One are being asked to run their own awareness-raising events, lobby local leaders and sign the Walk As One petition.

Visit Walk As One at Caritas Australia

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