National Close the Gap Day, held annually on the third Thursday in March, is a time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians alike to show their support toward the shared goal of health and life-expectancy equality.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience higher levels of illness and rates of imprisonment than Australia's non-Indigenous population. At the same time, Indigenous Australians have a life expectancy gap of 8.6 and 7.8 years against non-Indigenous Australian women and men, respectively.
The coalition of organisations behind the day urges Australians to either host an activity, share information, or, most importantly, take concrete action in support of equality to mark the day. Listening to and sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's stories on social media is also a great place to start, they say.
To honour the day, we’ve compiled a list of incredible Indigenous activists all working to draw attention to the inequality that persists between the populations.
From campaigning on Indigenous deaths in custody to white feminism and unconscious bias, these incredible change-makers are using their voices, humour and social accounts to pave the way for a better world.
We all need to listen and do better.
1. Nessa Turnbull-Roberts
Show up remembering that since the first moments of invasion,the culture of power dominance, rape and genocide began against First Nations people and has continued ever since.— Nessa Turnbull-Roberts (@TurnbullVanessa) March 14, 2021
We must stand strong in the
foundation. Injustice anywhere,is injustice everywhere. #March4justice
As a child, Turnbull-Roberts was forcibly removed from her family. Since that day, she has fought to abolish the current system that sees a significant over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and Indigenous deaths in custody. In 2019, the Bundjalung woman took home the 2019 Australia’s Young Person’s Human Rights Medal for her efforts.
2. Joe Williams
My keynote topic this morning at the #YarnUp2021 with NSW Transport is ‘Our Mob Is Stronger Together’— Joe Williams - TEW (@joewilliams_tew) March 17, 2021
Also looking forward to listening to the super classy @boneybrooke on her topic ‘Our Future Is Bright’#IndigenousX
A Wiradjuri man and former professional boxer and NRL player, Williams uses his charity The Enemy Within to inspire young people through motivational speaking workshops. His social media platform is abundant in activism, uplifting stories and words of encouragement.
3. Amy Mcquire
#ICYMI: @AmyMcQuire's powerful statements on Indigenous deaths in custody:— ABC The Drum (@ABCthedrum) March 16, 2021
"Still seeing Aboriginal men, women and children as unworthy of mourning and grief and fundamentally unworthy of justice is a real problem...
There's nothing natural about dying in custody." #TheDrumpic.twitter.com/BRRLzHalYv
As a journalist, Mcquire, a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman, uses her voice to speak out against discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peeople in mainstream media and issues like Indigenous deaths in custody, patriarchal ideology and police brutality.
4. Luke Pearson
Lol, this is an actual govt account and it has 29 followers since January... but to be fair to the soulless comms peeps who have been tasked with running it, “Australian Values is run by the Department of Home Affairs” is a tough sell. I mean, Australian values? In this economy?! pic.twitter.com/Mmo6BL7YcR— Pearson In The Wind (@LukeLPearson) March 7, 2021
Pearson, a Gamilaroi man, is the founder of IndigenousX, a 100% Indigenous owned and operated media, consultancy and training organisation. As a senior digital producer for Australia’s National Indigenous Television channel, Pearson uses his voice to highlight the need to improve Indigenous representation and participation in media.
5. Summer May Finlay
The @_PHAA_ supports the #UluruStatement from the heart.— Dr Summer May Finlay (@SummerMayFinlay) October 19, 2020
You can read more about our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocacy here: https://t.co/45f9al3H8u#PublicHealthpic.twitter.com/TN3UBUsQod
A Yorta Yorta woman, Finlay is passionate about social justice and public health. She uses her Twitter account to form relationships, debate and advocate for an end to racial injustice against First Nations people.
6. Lynore Geia
@NyingarnBadimia@lockhospitals Katleen and Bob, Melissa @croakeyblog brought these up for us on Palm. It's very special. What did you think of the one made for Carnarvon.? #IHMayDay18pic.twitter.com/7WC2bGESeN— Lynore K. Geia (@LynoreGeia) May 31, 2018
Since 2014, Geia, a Bwgcolman woman, has been behind the annual 15-hour Indigenous Health May Day — or #IHMayDay — a Twitter event highlighting Indigenous health issues that features purely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.
7. Nayuka Gorrie
Imagine only this many cops at a black March lollll https://t.co/zqqLt2gsgS— blak milf writer (@NayukaGorrie) March 15, 2021
Nayuka, a Kurnai, Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman, is a screenwriter and activist who regularly speaks to constitutional recognition topics, mental illness, police brutality, white feminism and the desperate need for Black voices in the media.
8. Dameyon Bonson
I was asked the other day about housing, jobs, education and food security etc in regards to Indigenous suicide prevention. My response was, these aren’t suicide prevention. These are human rights.— dameyon (@dameyon) October 24, 2020
Bonson, a Mangarayi and Torres Strait Islander man, is the founder of Black Rainbow, a social enterprise in the prevention of Indigenous LGBQTI suicide and self-harm.
Meissa is a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal woman. She uses her comedy and TikTok account to recount her experiences as a bisexual Indigenous woman. A TikTok account link leads people to a page where Meissa shares a range of petitions and educational anti-racism resources for allies.
10. Tarneen Onus Williams
I found out recently that my great grandmother wasn’t the only blak women on Cherbourg who was raped by the mission manager. Apparently the mission manager has 300 bio children 💔😡 https://t.co/UerRcRhr4o— assigned blak at birth (@Tarneen) March 16, 2021
A support worker, writer and filmmaker, Williams is a proudly Gunditj, Bindal, Yorta Yorta, Erub Mur Islander man who also identifies as non-binary. He explores the unconscious bias and ongoing struggle for justice and reconciliation experienced by Indigenous Australians across his Twitter account.