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Grandmothers call national day of protest against another stolen generation by Olivia Nigro 15 April 2014

G

randmothers from Gunnedah pledged to build the fight against what they say is another stolen generation at a protest outside Tamworth Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) last Friday. The Grandmothers, known as Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR), were joined by almost forty people in condemning the high numbers of Aboriginal children being removed from families across Australia. There are currently over 14000 Aboriginal children in out-of-home care, the highest number ever recorded. GMAR say that FACS typically fail to work with families and are removing children as a first resort. “Let us make [FACS] accountable. Let us force them to engage with families prior to any removal. Let’s force them to work with families and communities to keep these families together”, said founding member of GMAR, Aunty Hazel. Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge, who addressed the protest, says that a resilient grassroots Aboriginal movement has begun in Tamworth and Gunnedah. 
“The national apology for the stolen generation is ringing hollow in NSW when you realise that one in 10 Aboriginal children have been removed from their homes. This is the highest rate in any part of the country and demands a political response”, Mr Shoebridge said. “This movement is demanding that their kids be returned and that more government resources are devoted to keeping families together”, continued Mr

All images: Claire Letitia Reynolds

Shoebridge. “GMAR, and inspiring women like Aunty Hazel, have broken the silence on Aboriginal child removal in the 21st century and politicians from across the political spectrum need to listen,” Mr Shoebridge added. GMAR has called a national day of protest on May 26, National Sorry Day. They say the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report need to be implemented “We are calling on Aboriginal families and supporters nation-wide to protest at your local FACS office on May 26, National Sorry Day. Sorry means nothing until they

bring our babies home”, concluded Aunty Hazel. Keep in touch with GMAR http://stopstolengenerations.com. au/.

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Grandmothers demand return of “stolen” children from facs