WIYI YANI U THANGANI SUMMIT - By Laura Rose
5th July 2023
I stood in a room with almost 1000 blak women. All with our own journey but there for one purpose.
The room was full. Big belly laughs, thought-provoking sentiments and conversations on First Nations Gender Justice ignited the space.
Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices in Bunuba) is a project for First Nations gender justice and equality in Australia. Led by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO a proud Bunuba woman.
The primary colour of the event was purple, hints of it bounced around the room, the source being this giant digital mural of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani logo and when you looked around and truly saw each person you start to notice this lovely sense of connection as gradually noticed this multitude of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women were wearing all these hand-crafted cultural earrings. Framed by their fabulous hair and outfit. Black Women magic! You see then, the Elder’s with their eyes piercing of wisdom and deep knowledge.
The room felt warm, it felt like this insane movement, and I felt privileged to be in attendance of Wiyi Yani U Thangani. June Oscar spoke to our hearts. She is a powerhouse… the Aunty of Aunty’s! In one of her addresses to the audience she said “in your hands, you hold the past, present and the future. They are hands of a custodian of this continent”. It spoke to everyone in that room, you could feel the energy shift, this sudden empowerment and reminder of purpose.
After the main address from the powerful, creative, influential, and wise women that took the stage we broke out into small focus groups where different women made presentations on their social causes. It varied from land, language, matriarch/motherhood, social justice, and of course economic empowerment. IBA’s participation was gratifying, from the leaders to the delegates everyone was dedicated to the cause. At our stall I was able to see customers participate in conversations, have questions answered and burst out in praise of IBA and the impact it’s had on them. We hosted a headshot photoshoot, and it was so fun to have everyone take these images for their LinkedIn or CV. We had merch that was so popular (all first nation suppliers too) and got to promote of our Strong Women Strong Business network. So, there were many highlights!
In reflection, our voice is crucial, women, our non-binary folk and sistergirls are all sacred. The needs, entrenched issues and inequalities of First Nation Women will hopefully have a systemic change with this multi-year project.
Take action with us today across a range of areas from enhancing First Nations women and girls’ leadership, embedding healing-informed practices, realising women’s cultural, language, land and water rights, unlocking women’s economic potential and much more. See the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women's Voices) Implementation Framework for the priorities, actions and structural changes needed across the four thematic areas.