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Mardi Gras Parade 2012 First Australians Float True Love ... Tru! ACON acknowledges the traditional owners of the land we operate on across NSW and remind people we are on Aboriginal land. ACON also acknowledges the Elders and in particular those reading this document.

Author Meggan Grose Aboriginal Project Team Leader

Š Copyright 2012

Contents Key facts from the 2012 Parade




Recommendations for 2013 Parade




Community Partners


‘Leading’ the 2012 Mardi Gras Parade


2012 Theme ‘True Love…Tru!”


Community Meetings


Logistics Team


Koori flag coloured love hearts & Torres Strait Islander flag coloured love hearts


Destiny Haz Arrived


Banner 5 Community Elders Cadillac




T-shirt design


Showbags 6 Online Registration


On the day


Post Parade BBQ and Online Feedback


Images from the Parade and Koori Mail Newspaper


Key Facts from the Parade Entry Number of participants:

91 registered, 60 participants on the day.

Number of volunteers:


Number of ACON staff:


Full time

Meggan Grose Aboriginal Project Team Leader

Part time Sabina Francis

(7 hours on Registration day / 7 hours on Parade day)

Von Soemijadi

(7 hours on Registration day)

Ronnie Ramirez

(4 hours on Parade Entrants Information Day)

Number of active partnerships: 2

The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW

Kirkton Road Centre Number of resources distributed: 308 resources Number of incidents of service: 91 Number of email promotions: 2 Number of web articles:


Number of media articles:

1 Koori Mail 7 March 2012 pages 12, 13

Number of referrals made:



Aunty Laura Sabatino, Uncle Jeffrey Samuels and Uncle Jim Morrison for being in our Community Elders Cadillac. The community members who participated in the community meetings and generously donated their time and dedication to making the parade entry so great. Ro Ma Sa Ra for kindly donating the artwork and theme for this year’s parade. Kim Hill, parade photographer. Sandra Bailey and Sallie Cairnduff from the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW for providing paid staff member Monique McEwan to assist in our community meetings and on parade day. Christine Kerr from the Kirkton Road Centre for providing a paid staff member Brian Doyle to assist in our community meetings.

Recommendations for 2013 Parade •

Meet with Mardi Gras prior to the 2013 Parade to discuss the role of the First Australians in the Sydney Mardi Gras parades

Continue to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community GLBTS Elders in the Cadillac to acknowledge their place in our community

Continue to plan future parade participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander GLBTS people in the Sydney Mardi Gras.

Background ACON Aboriginal Project facilitates the First Australians float for many reasons: •

to increase the pride of Aboriginal GLBT people

to increase the visibility of Aboriginal GLBT people within the Aboriginal community

to raise visibility of Aboriginal GLBT people within the GLBT community

to connect Aboriginal GLBT people to ACON to increase their health and wellbeing.

Due to the generosity and advocacy of individuals, the First Australians have led the Mardi Gras parade for the last two years.

Community Partners As a community based organisation with a small Aboriginal Project, we rely on our partner organisations to deliver successful programs, especially the Mardi Gras parade entry. Our two strongest community partnerships are with the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW and the Kirkton Road Centre. Monique McEwan, Harm Minimisation Officer from the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW supported the Community Meetings, coordinated the Banner Holding and attending the Parade Day to coordinate handing out wristbands and banner holding. Brian Doyle, Aboriginal Community Worker from the Kirkton Road Centre, recent winner of the Gail May Aboriginal Health Worker of the Year 2012 assisted in our community meetings and support of ACON to put this on.

‘Leading’ the 2012 Mardi Gras Parade The float this year was at the start of the Mardi Gras parade. We did not lead the parade as the second float did not follow us. The First Australians float went down the parade route by itself. This was not told to the First Australians float organisers to pass onto the participants.

2012 Theme ‘True Love…Tru!’ After much discussion at our first community meeting the theme was decided to be True Love….Tru! The idea came from dedicated community volunteer living in NSW, Ro Ma Sa Ra. He attended the first community meeting and came along with artwork and ideas for two themes.

Community Meetings We had two community meetings. The first was on 6 February and we had 11 participants. The second was on 13 February and we had 7 participants attend.

Logistics Team At the Community Meetings it was decided to have a Logistics Team. This team created the media spokesperson text, designed the new banner, determinded the Cadillac seating arrangements, organised Registration Day at ACON, were on hand during Marshalling and organised body paint for barechested parade participants.

Koori flag coloured love hearts & Torres Strait Islander flag coloured love hearts

In previous years the parade participants walked in a big bunch and didn’t really spread out. To remedy this it was thought that the participants needed to interact with the crowd. This was an opportunity to give out something to the crowd. There were 4000 love hearts made with various text on them.

Destiny Haz Arrived For the second year in a row the float was blessed to have the Bundjalung IT girl, Destiny Haz Arrived, lead the First Australian float. She was our media spokesperson and the community meetings gave her three dot points to talk to the media about: • GLBT people in all our communities • Love has no boundaries • Being black and LBGT is okay!

Banner For the previous two years the First Australians float was led by a banner saying ‘First Australians’ and the ACON logo. This year it was decided at the community meetings to have a new banner saying ‘First Australians Always Was, Always Will Be, Aboriginal Land’ with no ACON logo.

Community Elders Cadillac This year the Elders Cadillac was used to highlight Aboriginal GLBTS community people who are looked up to by other Aboriginal gay and lesbian, bisexuals and sistergirls. At the community meetings it was decided to invite community elders to ride in the Cadillac and this year we were fortunate to have three people come in the car. Aunty Laura Sabatino was from the Hammond Island in the Torres Strait. She came in the parade to is represent her community as there are a lot of gay, lesbian and transgender people and sistergirls living there. Her message to everyone out there was this: there’s a lot of people out there using alcohol and drugs to deal with the stigma of being gay, lesbian and transgender but you have to be true to yourself, you have to be strong. Uncle Jeffrey Samuels is from out near Bourke NSW is a very famous contemporary Aboriginal artist at Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Cooperative located in Sydney where he is a Founding Member. He is a proud Aboriginal gay man since coming out in 1978. One of his paintings was reproduced in the nature segment of the 2000 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Uncle Jim Morrison is from Noongar country, Perth, Western Australia. For 40 years Uncle Jim has had pivotal roles dealing with Aboriginal advancement in State/Commonwealth and non-Government sectors, and the past 10 years a national spokesperson and advocate for Stolen Generations. In 2006 he was Pride Western Australia Patron where he spread the word about reconciliation by creating wristbands embossed with ‘queers for reconciliation’ for the annual Pride festival.

Ute The final element of the First Australians parade entry was a black ute. This was the car of a community person who kindly volunteered to come in the parade. The ute was where the parade participants’ bags were as well as the banners and flag poles.

T-Shirt design The t-shirts were red for all participants and yellow for all the Logistics Team members so that they could be easily identified by parade participants. All t-shirts used the artwork from Ro Ma Sa Ra.

Showbags Show bags were given out to everyone who turned up on the day. Many participants came and collected for other friends so only took one or two showbags. We gave out 28 bags with 11 resources each in there. Each bag had: post it notes, Aboriginal b project condom wallet, koori flag love heart sticker, TSI flag love heart sticker, drama down under STI booklet, First Australians info flyer from Mardi Gras with wristband pick up info, Start Making Sense postcard, HYWSM booklet, big picture booklet, HIV the Basics brochure, Slip it On postcard, t-shirt.

Online Registration One of our obligations to participate in the parade is to keep a record of our participants’ names so that we have emergency contact details for our participants. We also limit participation to 100 people, and give every person a t-shirt to wear in the parade. Online registration allows us to do all these tasks. Some people do not register themselves online and get a friend or relative to do it. We strongly encourage every individual registers themselves online as this builds the capacity of our parade participants to use the ACON website and see our programs and services.

On the day The weather was very cold and wet on the day. This affected our participant numbers. Our meeting spot was in Hyde Park 30 metres behind the Obelisk on Elizabeth and Bathurst Streets. The meeting place information was sent to every online registration email and told to everyone who came to the Registration Day. One the day there were still parade participants calling asking where we were meeting, and even some members in the Community Meetings.

Post Parade BBQ and Online Feedback We held a post parade BBQ on Saturday 31 March 2012 at Redfern Park from 12-2pm. This was to catch up with parade participants to hear about what worked, what didn’t work and what ACON could do better next year. We promoted this event on the Aboriginal Project webpage and emailed everyone who submitted an online registration. We had 5 members of the float turn up and one person submitted online feedback: What did you like about the parade entry this year? • Great organising team, fun parade participants, free t-shirt, going first, theme! • My experience from last year’s First Australia Mardi Gras parade, what work well this year was the logistic meetings. Having more time to work out the logistic and the little things that get left off the agenda at the community meetings. More time for workers, support and volunteers worked well. • I also think that worked well was keeping ideas and themes practical and realistic. • The shirts looked great and really stood out, the colours worked well. • The atmosphere was much better this year and things flowed well, I felt more organised. What didn’t you like about the parade entry this year? • Not being to catch up with everyone prior to marching...I initially couldn’t find everyone at 7pm and when I did we started marching quickly after. • I think there were a lot of lessons learned from the previous year that prevented things from going wrong. The only big thing that effect participation was the weather and that was out of our control. What we could control worked well. What could we do differently next year? • Music, lights? • Continue having the logistic meeting for workers, support and volunteers. • There is only so much ACON and support workers can do, people need to take responsibility for their float! Feedback received by email “Thanks for having us along to march in the First Australians float. [Partner] and I had a really great night and very much enjoyed marching with First Australians. The shirt design was great and I look forward to seeing the pictures in the Koori Mail! “

Photography by Greg Dickins 2012 Photography by Stepahnie Mellon 2012

Images from the Parade and Koori Mail Newspaper

414 Elizabeth St Surry Hills NSW 2010 • PO BOX 350 Darlinghurst NSW 1300 Freecall 1800 063 060 • Tel (02) 9206 2000 • Fax (02) 9206 2069 • • @ACONhealth


Hunter • Illawarra • Mid North Coast • Northern Rivers • Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) ABN 38 136 883 915 • Authority to Fundraise CFN/21473

Aboriginal Project Mardi Gras 2012 Report  

Aboriginal Project Mardi Gras 2012 Report

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