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"We want our child to feel included": Jesinta Franklin on why she won't celebrate January 26.

In 2020, Mamamia will only refer to January 26 on our homepage by its date, to acknowledge that it is not a day of celebration for all Australians.

If you want to be an ally this January 26, we urge you to sign this letter to your MP about the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which calls for constitutional change and structural reform that recognises the sacred, ancient spiritual link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their land. 

Today, on January 26, Jesinta Franklin is among many who are not celebrating Australia Day.

Instead, the model and TV presenter is using her profile to champion changing the date to one that doesn’t represent deep sorrow and pain for Indigenous Australians.

WATCH: Why January 26th is one of the most complex dates in Australia. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

In a column for Stellar magazine, the 28-year-old writes about what January 26 means to her family – herself, her husband, AFL footballer and proud Noongar man Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, and their unborn child due in 2020.

“For my husband and his family, January 26 marks the beginning of a dark time in history for their people, a period that still, all these years later, recalls injustice, loss and generations of pain and hurt,” the former Miss Universe Australia says.

“Even though I had a deep respect and what I thought was a good understanding of our Indigenous history through my time at school… it wasn’t until I listened to the pain endured from someone close to me that I began to deeply feel the importance of changing the date.”

 

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Jesinta also touches on the “raw and deeply painful” conversations with Buddy’s family that have helped her understand what it was, and still is, like for First Nations people to be treated as less than human on land that was once, and always will be, theirs.

“I have seen my husband well up when talking about his mum and how she used to have to run away with her siblings when they knew the government trucks were coming to take them away from their parents. Or when his sisters have shared stories of their grandparents, who were born into a world that considered them flora and fauna.”

“Take a minute to think about what it is like to have these conversations as a family and not only just read about it in books or online – to know that the people you love actually lived through this, that this was their reality. It is raw and deeply painful.”

Put simply: For Jesinta and Buddy, celebrating Australia Day on January 26 is like “celebrating and glorifying the beginning of the disposition of Indigenous land and his people, followed with years of hurt that still impacts generations today.”

This isn’t the first time Jesinta and Buddy have spoken publicly about January 26 and the importance of listening to and recognising First Nations people.

Most recently, the couple joined Australian magazine Marie Claire’s It’s Time campaign alongside Miranda Tapsell, Jessica Mauboy and Samantha Harris, which urges the Australian government to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution, as recommended by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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“Despite inhabiting this land for more than 60,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still not recognised in the Australian constitution. It’s time for change,” Buddy said.

“I hope that my story can help educate people and bring respect and a sense of pride to all Australians.”

Jesinta added, “We want our child to feel included, recognised, heard and worthy.”

Like many Indigenous Australians and their allies, Jesinta hopes she and her family can one day fire up the barbecue and celebrate what it means to be an Aussie, but on a date that’s inclusive to all Australians.

“Changing the date doesn’t change the past, but it is a step forward; it is holding out our hand to our Indigenous brothers and sisters and saying: We hear you and we acknowledge you. Let’s walk forward into the future together and continue the journey towards reconciliation with a sense of togetherness and hope for what is to come.”

“My hope is that one day I can join in the celebrations of Australia Day with not only my husband and his family but also our child, and enjoy the day in harmony with the rest of the country.”

You can read Jesinta Franklin’s full column for Stellar on The Daily Telegraph website here.

Feature image: Instagram/@jesinta_franklin.

Listen to Mamamia’s podcast, Tiddas 4 Tiddas. It features candid conversations with our Indigenous sisters, hosted by Kamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, Marlee Silva.

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