When I wrote that piece (Cause to Celebrate) I was 18. My Mum keeps stuff!
As I reread it for the first time in almost 30 years, I was embarrassed by the
naivete of my observations. (Not to mention my incorrect use of the word
And there is something else I want to address. ln the 80s the term 'White Privi-
lege' had yet to be coined and popularised. The piece is symptomatic of it.
The tone is sincere, but problematic - particularly my use of the words
'integrated', 'mystical', and the phrase 'naked romance'. Romanticising an
entire group of people and their culture is harmful, not helpful.
I didn't realise this at the time. I wrote it 'from the heart'. I wrote it with a
The year after I wrote it, the Australian and Torres Straight lslander Commis-
sion (ATSIC) was established. I was going to talk about that. I was going to
mention the landmark 'Mabo' decision in '92, and the fact that one year after
Gladys pulled out my tooth, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act came into force.
But I don't really fee! qualified to offer any commentary here, other than noth-
ing has been enough, so far.
What I wrote in 1988 is a very personal document, and what it finally boils
down to is an ode to my friend Gladys. Gladys with the dusty feet and curly
hair. Gladys who often protected me. My friend. I wonder what happened to
her and the direction she chose for her life. I hope the choice was hers
- Susan Read (nee Kelly)
Acknowledgment of the
For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked in this land, on their
own country. Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal People and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.
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