Dianne Torrens is Widjabal woman and Githabul woman of the Bundjalung nation from the Northern Rivers. She is a member of our Board, Chairperson of the NSW Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress and one of the Elders at her local church.
For Aunty Di, In This Together means having a voice and developing the courage to speak out when required.
She also believes it is important to be respectful towards others. When you speak with her, it’s very obvious Aunty Di is a warm, loving and forgiving person. She is a lady with a purpose and a close relationship with God.
“When I hear negative comments, I’m not frightened or ashamed to say something. When I was younger, I didn’t like speaking out but now I understand I need to speak up for the people who can’t. These days, I’m stronger and feel more courageous.
“I always try to be respectful so if I hear someone say something that isn’t right, I’ll ask them why they think that way. Then I invite them to see how we live so they can see for themselves that things might not be as they seem.”
Reconciliation – seeing the progress
Aunty Di is heartened by all the positive changes she has witnessed along our country’s reconciliation journey.
“My grandchildren have many more choices, friends and options than I did when I was their age. That’s what I call ‘Reconciliation in Action’. Their friends come from a variety of cultures so they can all learn from each other.
“I never want to see the things I went through – ever! It’s lovely to see there is less prejudice and more inclusion. It really brings joy to my heart.”
Aunty Di also talks about her work with the NSW Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress. She is often asked to visit churches to speak about National Reconciliation Week and other issues. It is at these gatherings that Aunty Di will sometimes see people who hesitate to speak with her.
“Sometimes it’s not easy for people to accept me when I visit their church. For some, it can take longer than others to reach out. I need to show them respect too. They may not be sure how to reach out to me, but I just need to give them some time. Hopefully, that’s the start of us breaking down barriers.”
Aunty Di believes In This Together and the pathway for reconciliation requires truth, justice and forgiveness, and simply sitting together to share a conversation over a cuppa. “It is being open with each other, saying hello and focusing on our similarities, rather than our differences.”
This year, the Reconciliation Week theme highlights the need for all of us to come together to create a better Australia for everyone. We hope you feel inspired by the stories we share and invite you to join the conversation by leaving a comment on our Facebook posts about what you believe In this together means for you.