Dear Inner Circle,
A university student, who was such an achiever that a “high distinction” was her minimum expectation, used to regularly help out our marketing team for a few years. No matter the task we gave her, the quality of her work exceeded anything we hoped to receive. A couple of years ago, she sat in my office, despondent because although a career as a brilliant lawyer was assured, she felt like life had been postponed or even missed. She decided to take a couple of years away from a singular focus on academia and took a job overseas. She threw herself into law in a third world country whose history and legal complexities are dazzling, depressing even. Her goal was not just to encounter the world but to make space in her life for people. She sat in my office this week and I didn’t say much because I was awestruck. The one thing I said multiple times was, “There is so much more of you now". She joked that she’d put on weight, but even that was a lovely observation because she used to be hauntingly skinny. I was witness to a transformation and it would catch the breath of anyone who had eyes to see. I’m sure her parents are awestruck too. For an hour this week, I think I knew the wonder that they must have known when they first met their baby and before they gave her a name.
This is NAIDOC Week which is always big in the Wayside calendar. Every day this week has a special event of some kind. Our Aboriginal community have put on an art show and our hall buzzed when they opened it with love to our community. The buzz level then increased considerably yesterday when a celebratory lunch was held in Kings Cross. Today there will be another lunch celebration at Bondi and on Friday a special football match held in Redfern. NAIDOC Week has nearly a hundred years of history. It’s a week where we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements, and we recognise the importance of all of this for every person who walks on this land. It’s a good opportunity for us at Wayside to express our thanks to Mon and Will and their team, and to every staff person and volunteer who do such inspirational work with us. The public think that any kind of work with Aboriginal people just comes with plenty of government funding but I remind you that not one cent of government money funds this work. Our work with Aboriginal people is funded by love. It’s funded by private donors and the awesome people at Clayton Utz.
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