Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
Communities from across the region, including more than 900 local school students, came together at the Maclean Showground on June 2 to attend the Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022, and spread the message of the importance of embracing and achieving equality in the health, education, justice and employment aspects of First Nations people.
Proud Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr men and women united in their passion to promote their culture as they raised awareness of the challenges facing First Nations people, including shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, lower levels of education and employment, and ongoing health concerns, with the younger generations.
Since 2008, Close the Gap has been aimed at improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Australian governments working together to deliver better quality health, education and employment opportunities, and eliminate the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous persons.
Photos: Clarence Valley Independent
Proudly sponsored by several local organisations including Momentum Collective, Clarence Valley Council (CVC), Our Healthy Clarence, and Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation, Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022 was a free community event.
Following a traditional welcome to country, students were invited to participate in traditional painting, weaving circles and dancing, along with other popular activities including obstacle courses and games of footy.
NRL stars and proud Bundjalung men Cody Walker (South Sydney), Daine Laurie (Wests Tigers), and James Roberts (Wests Tigers), also attended Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022, and happily spent time greeting their adoring fans, signing footy memorabilia, and taking selfies.
As they experienced the thrill of meeting some of their favourite sports stars, local students also said it was important to attend Clarence Valley Close the Gap Day 2022 to learn more about the history and the importance of Indigenous culture, and to spread the message behind its inception.
For further information, please visit www.closingthegap.gov.au
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 8 June 2022.