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Reconciliation 每 Why Bother?

At a recent Year 11 Chapel service, Year 12 student Eve Smith delivered a heartfelt speech on ‘Reconciliation 每 Why Bother?’.

Eve embodies the quintessential Leonardian spirit, recognising the importance of being a responsible local and global citizen and serving as a positive change agent.

Read Eve’s inspiring speech below.

Why do I bother? It*s a good question that I have thought about for a long time. I bother because of the guilt that I feel for what my ancestors have done, and I feel guilty for benefiting from it every day. But I also bother for other reasons, and up until recently, I hadn*t discovered my true drive for wanting reconciliation.?

A few weeks ago, the Having a Yarn Breakfast was held, and those of you who attended would know that Meena Singh presented. Meena is the Victorian Commissioner for Indigenous Children and Youth and brought quite a few of us to tears. If you went you would have seen me crying in front of Mr Clague, Mrs Slingsby, Rev Watkins, Mrs Neate, Mr Kenny and approximately 140 other people when I was thanking Meena. To be honest, I couldn*t have been happier to emcee the event even if it did mean crying in front of so many people.?

You are probably wondering why I cried, the reason I cried was the sense of hopelessness Meena had in her speech about Australian Reconciliation. But it*s no longer just reconciliation that Australia needs; it*s in Meena*s words, Justice for Indigenous people. Meena said that it wasn*t up to Indigenous people to try and achieve this justice because they have been trying ever since colonisation happened, and granted, across that period there have been some huge steps, but we have hit a roadblock. Only non-Indigenous Australians can make or force justice to occur. Based off the very few people who were there at the breakfast I think they are part of the reason why I truly bother in trying to achieve justice.

I truly try and achieve justice because I know that others won*t want to try or don*t know how, even if they think it*s important. So, I bother for those people, I bother for the people who want to help but don*t know how, I bother because I want to make a change and not just sit on the sidelines while it happens. I bother because I want to take necessary action that others might not. Reconciliation is important for Australia, for your year level and for you.

I am still reconciling with my past and I don*t know if I ever will be able to. If there is one thing that you take away from why I bother, it*s because I know a change needs to be made, I know that you all do too, and I am worried that no one else will try to achieve this change. Please prove me wrong, and put my worries at ease. Thank you.

Well done Eve, we are very proud of you.