24 May 2024

Sunday May 26 is National Sorry Day. It's a day to reflect and acknowledge the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generations, and the strength of the survivors.

Jessy Renouf is a proud Gubbi Gubbi woman and a member of our Youth Advisory Council. To mark this important day, Jessy has generously taken the time to share her reflections on its impact and meaning.


“We are our ancestors' wildest dreams.”

I heard this quote from an Aboriginal elder in my hometown (Brisbane) in a room full of proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

I constantly think back to this quote and what it truly means.

Our ancestors, regardless of who you are and where you are from, have paved the path for us today. Spiritually and physically without them we would not be here.

For my ancestors, we are a part of one of the oldest cultures in the world – living over 60,000 years. Our ancestors have taken great care of these lands, waters and inhabitants. They have grown families and raised children upon generations. They have protested, they have advocated and have fought before we all were alive for even the most basic of human rights.

Without my ancestors, I wouldn’t be here today.
That is why when I think of this quote, I realise I am living my ancestors’ wildest dreams.
It makes you think about how lucky and grateful we are. That being said I am going to fight as much as I can to do the same.

Today is 26 May, which marks Sorry Day. This day commemorates when then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd apologised in parliament to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for the Stolen Generation, the negative impacts of this and colonisation as a whole.

While I may live my ancestors' wildest dreams, there are extensive wrongs that have happened to First Nations peoples including the Stolen Generation.

The Stolen Generation was a horrific and truly traumatic process. While some argue that it happened so long ago, the impacts are still felt today. Those who were taken are still alive together and are having kids of their own, those who had their children forcibly stolen are still fighting to find their babies.

Can you imagine what it would feel like?

Being ripped away from your parents at such a ripe age of attachment, of growth, of learning without your own or your family’s consent. Forcible removal from your family, from your culture, from your home.

A large sentiment I have on Sorry Day, is that when you say sorry, you don’t do it again.
Let’s not only not do it again but reflect and strive to do better as a nation for the betterment of all people so we can continue living our ancestors’ wildest dreams.