31 August 2023
The power of youth voices united
By Shannon White, MYAN’s National Policy and Advocacy Lead
With support from the MYAN team, Shannon White, MYAN’s National Policy and Advocacy Lead, has been working with The Uluru Statement from the Heart Youth Dialogue co-chairs Allira Davis and Bridget Cama and colleagues from UNICEF Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition to deliver the Hands on Heart Conference, which was held last week.
Over 100 diverse young advocates from a range of multicultural and multifaith backgrounds came together for the Uluru Youth Dialogue’s Hands on Heart National Youth Voice Conference.
Kate Yeung from MYAN’s national staff team, and a member of CMY’s Reconciliation Action Group, attended along with young people from our partners around the country. The gathering on Gadigal Country provided the opportunity to ‘Educate, Activate and Connect’ about the Voice to Parliament, in a safe and empowering space.
Over 3 days, the delegates joined together to learn more about the Voice Referendum from senior and junior key leaders of the Uluru Statement from the Heart movement. They were equipped with strategies to advocate for the Voice in their own communities and contribute to a successful referendum result.
Led by young First Nations people for young people, this conference was an example of the power of the youth voice and the powerful action that can happen when young people unite to raise their voices, to listen to one another, innovate together and inspire one another.
There were many significant moments throughout the conference, but a standout has to be when the delegates gathered to hear a powerful keynote address from the Uluru Dialogue Co-Chairs and architects of the Uluru Statement, Professor Megan Davis and Aunty Pat Anderson AO, and when they saw the original signed Uluru Statement from the Heart for the first time.
Delegates left the Conference energised, educated and activated, with new friends and with a clear plan for the next six weeks for how to advocate in their local communities.
As part of the conference, the delegates from the Hands on Heart National Youth Voice Conference wrote a powerful statement in support of the Voice to Parliament. This united and heartfelt declaration represents their commitment to change, and their belief that a better Australia is not only possible, but that it’s on its way.
The Declaration commits ‘firm and enthusiastic’ support for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament as called for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
MYAN is continually inspired by the work of the incredible co-chairs of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – Uluru Youth Dialogue and share our deepest thanks to Allira Davis and Bridget Cama for their generous invitation to support and participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN Australia) is the national peak body on multicultural youth issues and is auspiced by CMY.