On Self determination via crowdfunding and Start Some Good
Melissa Sweet (who does an amazing job running the Crikey health blog ‘Croakey’) and I have been talking for some time about the Close the Gap initiative and the ways it is benefiting Aboriginal health, and also some of the ways it needs to do better.
Amongst our many conversations a wild idea appeared, maybe I could write some columns, from the perspective of someone who actually uses Aboriginal health services. Whoa right? An actual statistic, who has a computer and can parse a pretty mean sentence when inspiration strikes. So of course I said yay, and Melissa said yay, and The Croakey Koori was born.
Many moons later a campaign was created! http://startsomegood.com/Venture/the_koori_woman/Campaigns/Show/the_croakey_koori_column
Anyone who follows me either here through my blog or on Twitter knows I write passionately and always from the heart. My writing has no agenda other than to raise peoples awareness about what is to be an Australian Aboriginal woman who lives (I use the word ‘lives’ very loosely here, because most of the time I feel as if I am just barely existing) on the margins of mainstream society.
In conjunction with Croakey Blog I am aiming to raise at least $3000, this equates to roughly $1000 per month, Melissa and I think two columns per month sounds pretty good, but knowing me, if something gets me riled up, it will probably be more. If we raise more than $3000, then I will continue to write for Croakey up until the funds run out.
I do apologise that I don’t have very many rad things to give to people for donating, but if you have read my blog at all, then you will know that it’s only through the absolute kindness of a lot of pretty awesome people that My children and I still even have a roof over our heads!
In terms of what I will be writing about, number one obviously being health related issues, I will be touching a great deal on mental health as well. Most of you are no doubt aware of the absolutely appalling statistics concerning Aboriginal health in this country. The fact the Aborigianl children still suffer from diseases such as trachoma, which is virtually wiped out in other prosperous countries. The astoundingly low life expectancy rates for Aboriginal people, but is anyone really aware of the absolutely atrocious quality of life many Aboriginal people face? I cannot help but think that the current governments policies seem to be focused on hacking and slashing funds willy nilly. I have a genuine fear of what is coming for Aboriginal people in the future.
This is a very real opportunity for me, as an Aboriginal woman, to practise my own version of self determination as I understand it. I have spent countless years in administerial, promotional and in some cases, soul crushing culturally oblivious working environments in an effort to keep my children clothed, housed, schooled and stable. This is a chance for me to spread my wings and return to doing something that brings me the joy and fulfillment of doing what I love without reservation, and that is writing.
So I ask all of you, from the bottom of my heart. Please help me realise a dream I have nursed since I first read Dr Gary Foleys essay on ‘Whiteness and Blackness in the Koori Struggle for Self-Determination’.
Also, my son draws a mean postcard, I have no doubt one day he will be in galleries across the planet. You know you want one!
And if I may, I just want to thank every single person who has written words of encouragement to me. I suffer a great deal of self doubt at times and I am always, always, always surprised at the absolute kindness and good will you always show me.