Entrepreneur and proud Kaytetye woman Rona Glynn-McDonald says she comes from a family of storytellers. And, having grown up just outside Alice Springs among various First Nations communities, she was surrounded by Aboriginal culture, history and stories.
It was when she moved to Melbourne that she realised not every Australian had that depth of knowledge, or that experience on Country.
“I started to realise that, actually, the people and the cultures that I knew so well back home were foreign to so many Australians,” Glynn-McDonald says.
“We had to change that.”
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Fresh out of university, she launched Common Ground, a not-for-profit organisation sharing the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and sharing learning material for non-Indigenous Australians.
In this interview with Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn, part of the #ShareThePlatform campaign, Glynn-McDonald talks about how she’s struggled to find her place within and in between different communities, and why it’s important to have role models and support systems for young Indigenous Australians, Black people and People of Colour.
She also calls on Aussie businesses to be wary of knee-jerk reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Before making tokenistic gestures, she says leaders should look inside themselves and their businesses and identify areas for improvement internally, before making grand, public gestures.
It’s about listening, learning and amplifying BIPOC voices, she says.
“Let Indigenous, Black and Brown people raise their voices, and allow those voices to be heard.”