It was only Day 13 of the New Year, 2012. And on this day, I attended the funeral of the eighth South Australian Aboriginal person to die – the eighth death in our small community in 13 days.
One was for a young man of 21 with his whole life in front of him. He felt so hopeless that it was easier to end it than live in this ‘lucky country’. Support at his darkest hour might have saved him. But right now there is nowhere for people like him to turn when they most need it.
There is no quick solution to this tragedy, but more support could be the difference between life and death for people in my community. I'm calling on the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Paul Caica to fund a 24-hour crisis centre so that people have somewhere to turn.
I’ve been to too many of these funerals. Our whole community has. Parents bury their children, and we grieve for another young life needlessly lost. These deaths are slowly tearing us apart.
Death is the natural conclusion to life, but it’s not natural for Aboriginal people to be dying of preventable causes at this rate, years and years before the rest of the population.
I’m compelled to stand up and say something about what’s happening. Nothing is changing. It’s not just an issue for me to raise; we need to stand up as a community and say that in 21st century Australia, this is unacceptable and something has to be done.
Please sign the petition to Minister Caica, and tell him to fund a 24-hour crisis centre. Our destiny is in our hands, and it’s time to take control of it.