Grandmothers Against Removals Sydney [GMAR] and supporters will protest outside Family and Community Services [FACS] in Strawberry Hills at 12.30pm today to demand the immediate return of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from a Queensland family and placed in out-of-home care in Sydney.
Kukulangi Grandmother and founder of Brisbane Sovereign Grannies Group, Aunty Karen Fusi, will address the protest to demand a meeting with FACS for the return of her grandchildren. She says she was not even notified when her grandchildren were removed.
Currently, there are more than 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in “out-of-home care” on any given night – the highest number of children forcibly removed in Australian history.
“FACS has a duty of care to my grandchildren to notify me, as their grandmother, of any concerns for their wellbeing. FACS did not engage with me or my family at all, they just took the babies”, said Aunty Karen Fusi.
She continued, “I am a concerned grandmother who has flown from Queensland to Sydney to support my daughter to make sure her children are returned to Queensland and their family and community. I am very afraid that in Sydney they will lose their Aboriginal identity”.
This protest forms part of a growing national movement against the ongoing Stolen Generations and is calling for a national restoration program to return stolen children to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Protest organiser and member of GMAR Sydney, Michelle Hoogesteger, says the grass roots movement is gaining momentum as affected families and communities across Australia are increasingly confident to speak out.
“Only a few days ago on Invasion Day (aka Australia Day) thousands of Aboriginal families and supporters protested across the country against the ongoing systematic racism of government policies and institutions. The contemporary Stolen Generations is the epitome of this racism”, she said.
“Welfare is being used as a weapon against Aboriginal people instead of providing essential support services. GMAR has called a national protest on 11 February outside Federal Parliament House in Canberra to mark the anniversary of the Apology. Families will not stop until they are heard!”, she concluded.
MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Hoogesteger : 0405 709 881 – Danny TeeJay Johnson Tara Callinan Padraic Gibson Albert Hartnett Jennifer Swan Debra Swan Vanessa Culbong Vivian Malo Robert Thorpe Bogaine Spearim Jade Maree Kristy Hyphen Lee Juanita Sherwood Barbara McGrady Barbara Shaw Mitch Fullstop Gwenda Stanley