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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Armidale ANTaR will once again host their annual bridge walk in celebration and commemoration of National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week. This year’s bridge walk will occur on Sunday the 28th of May from 12pm at Curtis Park.

The walk is a highly important event on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members’ calendars and bears huge significance to the broader community.

One of the event organisers, Diana Eades, welcomes and encourages all members of the Armidale community to join ANTaR at this significant local event.

“It is a great opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to mix in an atmosphere of unity, respect, and recognition while enjoying a celebration of some aspects of local Aboriginal culture.”

“It is important for non-Aboriginal people to come together with Aboriginal people in a public commitment to reconciliation, to building a better nation; a more united Australia that respects and takes pride in 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, stories and achievements; an Australia that believes in the right of First Nations peoples to make decisions about their lives and their communities; and an Australia that stands opposed to racism, inequity and injustice.”

This sentiment echoes this year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week – “Be a voice for generations”.

Now in its 13th year, the Armidale Bridge Walk is expected to be bigger than ever.

“In the first few years we only had a few dozen people, and recently the event has swelled to more than 200,” says Ms Eades.

Ms Eades tells us that the committed group from Armidale ANTaR even managed to keep the event running through COVID.

“In 2020, because of COVID, we couldn’t actually have our usual event, but we filmed a few people working across the bridge with flags, and our wonderful photographer-film maker Patsy Asch made a video incorporating that small walk with interviews from several people about Reconciliation and the Bridge Walk.”

It is this dedication to the cause, and genuine desire for inclusivity for all that has marked this walk in the calendar as a very family-friendly and social event, which is equally as much about reconciliation as it is about building strong community bonds.

As per previous years, the walk will start with a group crossing of Stephen’s Bridge and a circuit of Curtis Park.

After the walk, attendees are invited to bring along a picnic lunch and to sit down and enjoy some short speeches, performances, and the opportunity to chat with friends. Tea and coffee, and a sausage sizzle with vegetarian alternatives will be provided.

This year’s guest speaker will be local singer-songwriter, Leetona Pitt. Attendees will also be treated to a performance of one of Ms Pitt’s songs, sung by the Minimbah School Choir.

Local Aboriginal didgeridoo player and dancer Bob Blair will also return this year to share a performance with all who attend.

For those wanting to participate in the walk, it will commence at 12 noon in the carpark next to the Visitor’s Information Centre (corner of Marsh and Dumaresq Streets).

To stay informed of the important community work Armidale ANTaR is currently engaged in, please visit their Facebook Group Page.

Top image: ANTaR Bridge Walk 2022

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