25 January 2023
CEO message: We’re changing the date ourselves
CMY is proud to support ‘Change the Date Ourselves’ in 2023, as part of our ongoing commitment to reconciliation.
We feel strongly that 26 January is not a day to celebrate. For many First Nations peoples, this is a day of mourning that represents the dispossession of land and the ongoing trauma of colonisation.
Alongside the release of our Reconciliation Action Plan in 2022, taking action to Change the Date Ourselves is symbolic of CMY playing its part towards creating an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights to self-determination, culture and land are recognised and respected.
In recognition of the journey we are on, CMY is supporting staff to take action by electing not to celebrate the public holiday on 26 January. We’ve been heartened by the positive response from staff to this call-out, with the majority choosing to work on 26 January.
Upon the recommendation of our Reconciliation Action Group and staff Diversity & Inclusion Governance Group, it has been decided that the meaningful alternate date for CMY to collectively observe the public holiday will be in NAIDOC week. Observing Friday 7 July in 2023, in lieu of 26 January, will give CMY staff the opportunity to join First Nations Australians and allies for the Victorian NAIDOC march.
We recognise that this is only a symbolic change and one small step in our efforts towards reconciliation as there is so much more to be done. CMY is focused on strengthening connections between multicultural young people, families, communities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and working together to address systemic issues of political and social exclusion, economic disadvantage, and health inequality.
On January 26, we encourage you to deepen your own understanding of Australia’s history and the significance of this day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We look forward to a time when as a country we have an inclusive date that unites us as Australians while acknowledging the history and experiences of our First Nations people.
Carmel Guerra OAM
Chief Executive Officer
- Statement on 26 January – Reconciliation Australia
- Opinion: Australians Should Use January 26 – a Day of Mourning for Many First Nations People – To Learn the Real Version of Our History by Sharon Williams
- 5 ways you can be a better ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – YACVic
- Support a Voice to Parliament – Reconciliation Australia
- Why Change the Date of Australia Day?