Five Questions with Kaleesha Morris

In 2014, Twitter Hosts by IndigenousX

Kaleesha Morris was Indigenous X host from August 22 to September 1, 2014.

Five questions to Kaleesha

My name is Kaleesha. I am 24, and I am a proud Gumbaynggirr and Kulkalgal woman. I was born and raised on my mother’s country in the Clarence Valley by the Northern Rivers of NSW but I have been living on Gadigal/Tharawal country for the past eight years.

I love a lot of things, first and foremost my family and country. I also love poetry, art, travelling, neo-soul/jazz music and learning languages.

I have been working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice for the past eight years. I study arts/law at UNSW and currently work with Kingsford Legal Centre (KLC). KLC is a community legal centre providing free legal advice to our local communities, and clinical legal education to UNSW law students. Outside of that, I am a youth ambassador for the Justice Reinvestment for Aboriginal young people NSW Campaign, an organisation which lobbies for various reforms in the criminal justice system and most importantly, stands for reducing Aboriginal incarceration rates and building Aboriginal community empowerment and self-determination.

This week I will be exploring a variety of issues but those in particular will be country, culture, environmentalism and climate change as well as decolonisation and justice.
I am very grateful to have a number of role models. Those at the very forefront are the strong women in my family. My mother is extraordinarily beautiful, loving and very independent and my aunties and grandmothers have all worked extremely hard to raise our family up. I look up to my big sister Nakkiah Lui for her tenacity and her creativity, and I look to the aunties of other communities, like Aunty Rhoda Roberts, Aunty Gracelyn Smallwood and Aunty Patricia Mills, all of whom have blazed trails for young people like myself.

I love the works of poets Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Maya Angelou and Sunni Patterson. I also have immense respect for all of those people who have never lost sight of the importance of protecting country and our connections to it and to each other.

In broader terms, I am driven by the paradox of contemporary Aboriginal societies, our communities are both incredibly vulnerable and resilient at the same time. I want people to appreciate the magnitude of each of these aspects and work from them.

I often try to raise special awareness of the tragic Aboriginal suicide rates in Australia, as well as the increasing incarceration rates of our people, both realities of which are unacceptable in Australia. I am also particularly passionate about creating action around the global climate change crisis. Activism in this area is crucial for Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world, communities of whom are often impacted earlier and more significantly than others.

I want to see the large-scale revival of Aboriginal languages. I want the wider Australian public to realise that the Aboriginal peoples inherent rights to protect Country and resources are for their and their children’s benefits as well so we need to be supported in our causes to be equitably involved in decision-making processes.

I want a future whereby Aboriginal peoples are truly appreciated and valued for the immense wisdom they can provide in taking care of Australia. I want a future whereby we are all actively seeking to strike and maintain the right balances with our environments and whereby we are all (black and white) free from the myths of colonisation. I work for a future whereby each and every one of us can embrace, respect and connect to the Aboriginal spirit of this country and be much better off for it.

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