Reconciliation Australia (RA), a not-for-profit organisation with a mandate to foster positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, today launched a nationwide initiative to promote tolerance and acceptance in schools.
RA wants schools around the country to adopt a stronger focus on Indigenous Australian history and issues.
Justin Mohamed, RA CEO, told BuzzFeed News, "we hope that the next generation and the generation that comes behind them again won't have to tolerate racism, won't have to tolerate the sad statistics that are out at the moment."
The Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning program, was developed by RA over two years. Ultimately the onus will be on individual state governments to implement the program.
Mr Mohamed said that, “Many schools believe they don't need to participate because there are no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kids at their school," He says. "This couldn't be further from the truth. Every Australian school and early learning service can join the Narragunnawali community to help all children to understand, respect and have pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures,”
Mr Mohamed hopes that a more pro-active education system, which actively highlights Indigenous history, could end the massive disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through awareness and empathy.
"The schooling system is a great way to change the wrongs, stereotypes and negative attitudes."
That disparity is still growing - here are five facts of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that every Australian should be educated on according to Reconciliation Australia.