Kirsty Parker was Indigenous X host from January 23 to January 30, 2014.
Five questions to Kirsty
I was raised in a safe and loving environment by my Aboriginal mum (herself the oldest of 18 children) and non-Aboriginal dad, both of whom always told me, my sister and two brothers that we could be and do anything we wanted. A generation ago, many of my family were stationhands, shearers, jackaroos and jillaroos, and domestic servants. Today, we have a teacher, a writer, community and youth workers, a police officer, a surveyor amongst our number.
For the past 25 years, I have worked in print and radio journalism, communications, and management of Indigenous organisations. In July this year, I was elected co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a national representative voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I’m also a director of Reconciliation Australia and a member of the Deadly Awards Executive Academy.
It’ll also be a big week for the Congress, with some public meetings around the country serving as vital rallying points to assure our members and supporters that Congress will survive even if the federal government follows through on plans not to honour a previous budget funding commitment covering the next three years. Congress is owned and operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. As such, our future is in our own hands. Now, more than ever, we need to build a national unity movement.
I am inspired by all good, honest, dignified and courageous women and men who won’t wait for others to do what’s right, and who will put self-interest aside and act for the most vulnerable in society. As well as the big issues, I also advocate small but mighty acts of kindness, like asking someone who seems sad, worried or frightened “are you okay?” and listening genuinely to their answer (sometimes people just need someone to hear them). Or, if you see someone copping abuse on a train, moving to sit or stand beside them – silently if that’s all you’re comfortable with – so they know they’re not alone. Often the people who are most generous are those with the least to give.