One Conversation to Have, Activist to Follow and Petition to Sign

Deciding where to put your time and energy can be tough as there are a plethora of worthy causes that need your voice behind them. While you can’t tackle everything, there are a number of issues that need your time and that you need to educate yourself on further in order to make this world easier for others to live in.

To do so, we’ve narrowed down one conversation to have with your family and friends this week, as well as one activist to follow on social media and a petition to sign. While we all should be striving to be better in the long term, these are small things you can act on quickly — like today! — and will help continue building your education in these areas.

— One conversation to have

At the beginning of 2020, the topic of climate change was on everyone’s lips in light of the devastating bushfires taking place across Australia. With the onslaught of a global pandemic, the climate conversation was shelved and hasn’t been discussed all that much since.

If you haven’t shifted your focus back to all things climate crisis, that’s OK. But, it’s time to reignite those conversations. While Government policy and action on climate change is severely lacking here in Australia, we have to do better because our politicians clearly aren’t interested.

The next time you’re speaking to a group of friends, bring up the topic of climate change. The days of avoiding conversations like this are over and we need to get really clear on how we’re both contributing to the issue and taking steps to make change. Climate change isn’t a social movement or a political matter, it’s just a plain old issue that is affecting us all.

Ask your friends and family about how they are reducing their footprint and share with them how you are too. The Climate Council has a handy guide as to how you as an individual can tackle climate change by reducing your own carbon footprint by eating less meat, moving your money to a bank that invests in Australia’s renewables sector and becoming more efficient with your energy usage.

While it can be a difficult and confronting conversation to have, it’s a necessary one. And, you might be saving your children or their children from having this very same conversation in years to come.

— One activist to follow

Aretha Brown is an artist, activist and Gumbaynggirr woman who is a must-follow on Instagram. The 19-year-old educates her followers about important matters related to First Nations peoples. While it is not her job to educate non-Indigenous people (as this is something we must spearhead individually), Brown is extremely generous with the information she provides via Instagram.

Brown sheds light on topics like the meaning of the word “Blak” and decolonial questions to ask yourself when in an art gallery or museum. With discussions around the Black Lives Matter movement slowly receding in the media, it’s important to continue to learn more (and do more) personally without the media spurring you on.

— One petition to sign

Did you know that the Aboriginal flag is copyrighted? This means the flag can’t be used unless approval is gained by the copyright owners, WAM Clothing. The Aboriginal flag was created over 40 years ago by Luritja man Harold Thomas but it wasn’t officially adopted as the flag of the Aboriginal people until 1995 when the Governor-General proclaimed it to be so.

As the creator and owner of the flag, Thomas is able to grant licenses for copies of the flag to be made. In 2018, Thomas granted a license to WAM Clothing, a non-Indigenous company and since then, WAM Clothing has sent multiple cease and desist letters to brands and organisations attempting to use the Aboriginal flag.

In August this year, the AFL was issued with a bill from WAM Clothing for its past use of the flag on merchandise created during the Indigenous round. In this year’s Indigenous round, the AFL decided to forgo an agreement with WAM Clothing in order to bring attention to the issue of ownership.

After receiving a cease and desist from WAM Clothing following the use of the Aboriginal flag on a number of products, Indigenous clothing brand Clothing The Gap launched the Free the Flag campaign.

According to The Standard, conversations around the copyright licensing arrangements of the Aboriginal flag began on Monday, September 14, in a senate inquiry. While the outcome remains to be seen, there is a petition you can sign to support the Free the Flag movement and to help attempt to stop a non-Indigenous organisation from profiting off and controlling the flag. Head to change.org sign Clothing The Gap’s #PrideNoProfit petition.

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