The publishers of a new book are calling on all state, territory and federal governments to commit to taking action to stop the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
They are also urging health professionals and the health sector to step up, and take a greater role in advocating for solutions to this critical public heath crisis.
The #JustJustice book will be launched on Sunday, 27 November at Gleebooks in Sydney by Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor of the University of Canberra.
#JustJustice is an initiative of Croakey.org, a social journalism for health project. The #JustJustice team are Summer May Finlay, Dr Megan Williams, Marie McInerney, Melissa Sweet, and Mitchell Ward (more details are here).
The book includes more than 90 articles from over 70 contributors that have been published at Croakey.org over the past 18 months. It privileges the voices and expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations.
Summer May Finlay, a Yorta Yorta woman and public health practitioner said: “It's important that all governments take measures to address the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people incarcerated.
“Incarceration has a significant impact on individual people's health, the health of the family and community. Solutions, like the ones suggested in #JustJustice need to be driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Dr Megan Williams, a Senior Research Fellow at the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Research team at Western Sydney University, and descendant of the Wiradjuri people, said that addressing the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will have a flow on effect to the whole Australian community.
“The solutions outlined in this book are also relevant to the lives of any people struggling with alcohol and drug problems, violence and trauma,” she said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is something to value, as the oldest continuing culture known, with deep connection to the environment and family.
“The solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are often holistic, akin to the integrated care governments are also now aiming for. It’s time to properly implement and evaluate these programs, to prevent the situation from worsening.”
In his foreword to the book, Professor Calma writes that #JustJustice
represents a “fantastic collection of ideas”. He says it highlights the work of the many human rights and social justice advocates, be they individuals, communities and organisations, who have the vision and courage required to make a difference.
“It is now time for politicians and policy makers to join us to address this national crisis,” says Professor Calma.
More than 300 donors contributed to the #JustJustice crowd-funding campaign, and there were two premium sponsors, Frank Meany of One Vision, and the Jesuit Social Services.
Hard copies of the book are available for sale at Gleebooks, and it is freely available online at: https://croakey.org/download/43883/
To arrange interviews about the book, contact:
Summer May Finlay 0424 299 457
Dr Megan Williams 0400 073 358
Melissa Sweet 0411 459 274
Marie McInerney 0418 273 698