By Henry Gilbert

AllGrid Energy’s (AGE) event “Illuminating the EnviroMENTAL: Healing from the inside out” is just around the corner. Held in the SMC function centre in Sydney with David Suzuki as our keynote speaker backed by an array of incredibly powerful voices from the Indigenous community, the night promises to be truly inspiring. In the lead up we’re doing a series of feature articles to acquaint you with the speakers of the night.

Recently we did a feature on Elijah Douglas and his story about the Doomadgee boys, and shared his warm and honest wisdom. Our second feature was on the passionate advocate and young Indigenous leader, Amelia Telford. You will also have read our interviews with Olga Havnen, Josh Gilbert and Nathan Blacklock – what a great conversation the evening will deliver! This time we will be sharing the story of Kirstie Parker, the CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE), who is also a director of Reconciliation Australia and the Indigenous Remote Communications Association.

Kirstie is a Yuwallarai woman, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, and a mother and grandmother. She has a long andf rich history of advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from overseeing communications and public affairs for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), running strategic campaigns for native title claims and reconciliation, editing The Koori Mail, Australia’s 100% Aboriginal owned Indigenous newspaper, and as elected Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Here, Kirstie shares some of her throughts about mental health and the Indigenous community.

“When we have our eye on the same destination – a sustainable future where Indigenous people are recognised for their wisdom and honoured for their culture – there is no problem taking a different path to reach that place. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from enough collective challenges as it is to put up with disunity. That is why I say ‘Here’s to the builders, the encouragers, the supporters – both black and white. I salute you’.”

“I am inspired by all good, honest, dignified and courageous women and men who won’t wait for others to do what’s right. People who will put self-interest aside and act for the most vulnerable in society. These people inspire me regardless of whether that be spending the time to support someone who is suffering through issues with their mental health, or getting active in creating a system of sustainable energy. We have to integrate the small things in our lives with the big issues if we are to achieve the dream of a future where our children’s horizons are endless.”

“A generation ago, many of my family were station hands, shearers, jackaroos and jillaroos, and domestic servants. Today, we also have a teacher, a writer, community and youth workers, a police officer, and a surveyor amongst our number. That diversification and progression can be seen all the way across the Indigenous community, and I find it truly heartwarming to see the young people of this day and age flourishing with so many more opportunities than my generation ever did.”

“I have a lot of pride and respect for my people, and I believe that we can make it through together.”

What a real and honest champion of the sport! We here at AGE look forward to seeing Nathan in Sydney at ‘Illuminating the EnviroMENTAL: healing from the inside out’. If you’re interested in participating in this amazing event we’d love to have you along on the night, you can buy tickets for the event here. If you can’t attend we have set up a donation crowd-funding platform for people and we would very much appreciate it if you could share these events through your social media platforms.

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