This artwork, 'Slivers', which displays images and text on various themes of reconciliation, is located at Reconciliation Place in Canberra. The ACT is the only jurisdiction to mark Reconciliation Day with a public holiday. Photo: Getty.

In commemoration of the 1967 Referendum on 27 May, today is Reconciliation Day, with the ACT being the first, and only, Australian jurisdiction to mark the occasion with a public holiday, on the first Monday on or after the historic date. While Reconciliation Day is only a public holiday in the ACT, it is also the first day of National Reconciliation Week, which is Australia-wide.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Canberra community will be able to mark Reconciliation Day this year via online engagement and family-friendly activities, which include practical workshops such as Caring for Country, and Understanding Bush Tucker.

While the 2020 Reconciliation Day public holiday (Monday 1 June) will be different, ACT Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said it is still a great opportunity for Canberrans to come together in the spirit of Reconciliation.

“The 2020 National Reconciliation Week theme ‘In this together’ is particularly fitting given the year we are all experiencing and the need to get through this difficult time together.

“It also reflects our shared journey of Reconciliation, truth telling and valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. The theme is about us being strong together and strengthening partnerships between individuals and communities built on trust and respect, free of racism and discrimination.”

Activities available to Canberrans during Reconciliation Week include: Postcards being delivered to all Canberra households by late May. Write a pledge of Reconciliation on the postcard and share your message online using #ReconciliationDayCBR; Tuning into the Events ACT YouTube channel on Reconciliation Day to watch practical workshops: Caring for Country,and Understanding Bush Tucker; and preparing a creative submission responding to the ‘In This Together’ theme; or, for younger family members, downloading colouring worksheets.

ACT Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, James Milligan, said the theme for Reconciliation Week 2020, In This Together, would resonate across the Canberra community.

“These extraordinarily difficult times remind us that in times of crisis and in times of hope, we remain a community, and we are all in this together,” Mr Milligan said.

“Reconciliation Week is a great opportunity to reflect on the things that define us, the things that make us who we are and bring us together.”

Mr Milligan said while Reconciliation Week would be honoured in a different style this year, there are several ways Canberrans can be involved online. For 20 ways to be involved, visit: nrw.reconciliation.org.au

For more details on Reconciliation Day in the ACT and available activities, see events.act.gov.au/reconciliation-day

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