Held annually on 26 May since 1998, National Sorry Day honours the resilience and self-determination of Aboriginal people who have been impacted by the forced removal of babies and children from their families.
As a tribute, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff across all sites were invited to light a candle and share in a minute’s silence in memory of those who came before and who paved the way for us all today.
“Today we want to have a minute’s silence for all of the people who never made it home; who are still finding their journey home, and who continue to be removed – and who have had lots of trauma from being part of the stolen generation,” said WSLHD director Aboriginal Health Strategy Belinda Cashman,
The district also hosted an internal Sorry Day Livestream event to acknowledge the past hurt, and trauma that remains.
Today’s an important day,” said WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy.
“We acknowledge the strength of stolen generation survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and our nation.”
Special guest, Wailwan Elder Uncle Widdy, reflected on his devastating personal experiences of being a stolen generation survivor during the livestream.
“It’s a very powerful and moving story, and because it is so traumatic, sometimes it’s hard to find any words that can fill the void because it’s so emotional,” reflected Belinda.
“Today we say sorry from WSLHD; and today, for me, as someone who has had a mother adopted, and a sister adopted out as well, I fully understand some of the impacts that Uncle Widdy spoke about today and the emotional impacts that has for all of us who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.”
In 2022, the Secretary, NSW Health, Susan Pearce, made a formal apology on behalf of the NSW Health system to survivors of the Stolen Generations and acknowledged the many Aboriginal children who were admitted to our hospitals and never returned to their families and communities.
One year on, NSW Health has continued its commitment to supporting truth-telling and the ongoing process of healing for our Aboriginal communities. In commemoration and continued acknowledgement of this written apology, a framed apology was given to every district facility, and will be hung as a continued reminder.