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RMIT: Standing with those who stand for justice, equality and respect

Message from Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean

At RMIT, we stand with those who stand for justice, equality and respect.

We are proud of the diversity of our RMIT community, it’s what makes us who we are.

Led by our value of inclusion, we believe everyone should be treated with respect, we should look out for one another and call out bad behaviour.

We’re saddened by the recent tragic event in the United States resulting in the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. This event has ignited the hurt, anger and frustration felt by so many who suffer prejudice every day.

At RMIT, we stand with those who stand for justice, equality and respect.

Unfortunately, here in Australia injustice, inequality and marginalisation still exist.

As Reconciliation Week draws to a close, many of us will have been reflecting on the situation here at home, and Australia’s own record of mistreatment and inequality. The deaths in custody of First Nations Australians are very real.

Wednesday 3 June also marked Mabo Day – a commemoration for Eddie Koiki Mabo whose unyielding campaign for Indigenous land rights resulted in the overturning of Terra Nullius. When the decision to overturn Terra Nullius came, the judges referred to the dispossession and devastation as “the darkest aspect of the history of this nation” and one that left “a legacy of unutterable shame”.

At RMIT, our dhumbali to being in a relationship with our nation’s First Peoples is a continued learning and sharing experience.

Any quality relationship must be based on respect and trust. This can only happen when we are thoughtful, patient, considerate and take the time to understand the lived experiences and histories of others.

We acknowledge that relationships are key to achieving self-determination for the First Peoples. This is the basis for the shared future we’re collectively working towards for the community of RMIT.

Our goal is to ensure the spirit of sustainable reconciliation, expressed through our Reconciliation Plan Dhumbah Goorowa (commitment to share), is truly embedded in the day-to-day business, operations and durrung of our University.

We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder pushing towards a better future. A future we will see in each other, our children and importantly, our students.

With COVID-19 limiting our ability to physically come together to support one another on campus, it’s important that we continue to uphold our culture of care.

As a university and as a community, we will continue making the space to talk, listen, provide support, and take meaningful action. It is only through conversation and education that deep-rooted, systemic disparity and prejudice can shift.

This is the proud history and commitment we share and the values we must uphold. It starts and stops with all of us.

Noon gudgin.