“We are the change we seek”… it’s a popular quote that’s truth when applied, has the power to change the world.
It may be a fairly simplistic view of social change, but what if we are more powerful than we recognise? Is it really possible for everyday people to influence conversations and change perceptions? To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
One of the positive changes social media has given our society is the platform for everyday people to discuss their experiences and contribute to the narrative around issues in a way that has not been seen in recent history.
There is a growing movement of citizens who, feeling disengaged from the popular discourse or disheartened by a negative narrative around difference and diversity, have started social media campaigns to bring change.
The past 12 months has seen a number of high profile incidents that have highlighted the negative portrayal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the media and our society generally. Perth’s Mikayla King an Aborignal and Islander Education Officer, Trainee Teacher and former Youth Worker, collaborated with Miss NAIDOC Perth and Indigenous business advocate Shelley Cable, to show the world the diversity and richness of contribution made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Western Australia.
100 Days of Deadly Mob – a Facebook page dedicated to sharing the personal stories and accomplishments of some of Western Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens, posted their first story which received more than 10,000 reads. The projects launch coincided with the death of a young Aboriginal boy that was portrayed negatively by the mass media and through social media. The page follows the style of projects like Humans of New York. A picture is accompanied by a personal story highlighting the challenges and accomplishments of the interviewee.
Ms King, who along with Shelley, has volunteered her time for this valuable project says, “Sharing these stories of our mob showcases the incredibly resilient, strong and powerful people we are.”
Interviewee occupations range from politicians, health professionals, artists and foster parents to name a few. The thing that stands out reading the stories each day over the past six months is both the diversity of experiences and accomplishments, and the common focus on community and family.
100 Days of Deadly Mob has recently profiled its 100th community member and will be taking a little break from daily posting while Mikayla and Shelley decide what direction to take it in future. One things for sure, the page as it stands is an incredible social history of some of Western Australia’s great contributors.
In addition to the wonderful personal stories a read through the comment section highlights the readiness of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for a more balanced and honest portrayal of First Australians. Further testament is the over one million overall views the page has received since starting 6 months ago.
The project tackles issues like Stolen Generation, skin colour, welfare dependency and cultural identity. It is a snapshot of the issues that affect the daily lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Western Australia and showcase the resilience and achievement of descendants from the oldest living culture in the world. A strength that all Australians can be inspired by.
Written by: Sharna Mensah
Article from April edition of Blooming Minds eMag