Adam Goodes – Adam was named Australian of the year last year and kept it real from the jump. We may disagree on constitutional recognition, but that in no way mitigates my respect for a seemingly tireless anti racism campaigner. He recently spoke about maybe going into politics. I say yay! He not only talks a lot about fighting racism, he is also passionate about Aboriginal health and ending domestic violence. Adam has taken the platform given to him by receiving the Australian of the year award and used it to express many progressive and informed views about Aboriginal Australia.
Nakkiah Lui, Steven Oliver and the cast of Black Comedy – Black Comedy was gold. I let out some good belly laughs while watching last year. The fact that the show starred a majority of Aboriginal actors was brilliant. The absolute stand out sketch for me was with Nakkiah Lui and Steven Oliver involving a poker machine. The first sketch comedy to star so many Aboriginals in leading roles since 1973 was an unmitigated success and really highlighted the lack of Aboriginal actors on other Australian television shows (excluding Redfern Now and Gods of Wheat Street of course) and I do hope there will be a season 2 later this year.
Anita Heiss – The indefatigueable Anita published the excellent book ‘Tiddas’ (a very touching and heartwarming tome about a group of four friends) campaigned for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (an awesome program that gets books into Aboriginal childrens hands), visited many schools to give talks and workshops and is now currently working on a new book. Anita is making a very real difference to peoples lives for the better, and I cannot wait to get my hands on her upcoming novel!
Kylie Sambo – Kylie is a Hip Hop artist and also fought alongside many other Traditional Owners against, and was successful in preventing a nuclear waste dump on her homelands at Muckaty Station just outside of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. Kylie also run successful fundraising campaigns to help fight the case and her song ‘Muckaty’ is heartfelt and poignant.
Amy McQuire – Amy, the former editor of Tracker Magazine, who now writes for New Matilda has been an excellent source of information regarding Aboriginal issues. She writes detailed and eloquent pieces that get to the heart of matters. One of the pieces she wrote before Tracker closed was on the Bowraville tragedies, which was sincere, insightful and very moving. I had the opportunity to be on a panel with Amy last year and she speaks just as passionately as she writes. An incredible journalist who will no doubt keep us up to date this year as well.
There are many other people who made differences last year, these five were stand outs for me. They made me think, laugh, learn and marvel at their dedication to their chosen fields and their vast knowledge on all kinds of different subjects. I look forward to being inspired by them this year, just as they inspired me last year.