A rally was held on July 27 in Gosford to demonstrate opposition to the taking of Aboriginal children from their families by Family and Community Services (FACS).
The group organising the rally was Grandmothers Against Removal, Sydney (GMARS).
Two organisers of the event, Elizabeth Jarrett and Paddy Gibson, said that there had been an increase of over 300% in children taken from their families since the stolen generation.
They said GMARS was fighting to change that.
“The organisation fights for self-determination in all areas, including child welfare,” Mr Gibson said.
They said they believe that the money being spent on housing the children, over $60,000 per child per year, could be better used providing support to the community.
They also said that even in cases where there are social issues, such as alcoholism or drug use, the people in and around the situation would be better placed to deal with them.
Janine Barratt, a member of the rally, said the children being taken are missing a vital part of their heritage when they were placed with white families.
“They’re losing their song-lines, their bloodlines and their culture,” she said.
Another rally participant who wanted only to be identified by his first name, Sharn, said the rally was important, but would remain peaceful.
“We are here to be seen and heard, no violence involved,” he said.
“We just want to be equal like everyone else, to be treated the same as everyone else.”
One of the men at the event identified himself as Uncle Dean Mason, a Yuin man from the South Coast of New South Wales, and said children being taken leaves a lasting trauma on families.
“It’s not just trauma for a few years, but for generations,” he said.
Interview, Jul 27
Janine Barratt, GMARS
Uncle Dean Mason, GMARS
Colleen Fuller, GMARS
Scott Falconer, Journalist
Photo: Grace Cuskelly