real life

'Dear 13-year-old Bianca: This is what it will be like growing up as a First Nations woman.'

In 2020, Mamamia will only refer to January 26 on our homepage by its date, to acknowledge that it is not a day of celebration for all Australians. If you want to be an ally this January 26, we urge you to sign this letter to your MP about the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which calls for constitutional change and structural reform that recognises the sacred, ancient spiritual link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their land.

Dear 13-year-old Bianca, 

You know those people right now telling you, “you’re too black to be white and too white to be black”? Their comments are nothing but fuel for you. 

Fuel for you to educate the ignorance of those who incite hate over love. Energy to succeed in the future. Those who don’t believe that you will achieve your dreams will inspire you to not prove others wrong, but to prove yourself right. 

What if I could tell you where your journey will take you in 10 years? Well… I can’t. Because I am writing this as future you, I already know what has happened… I know I can’t rewrite my history and to be honest – I wouldn’t. 

Why? 

Because, those people who questioned you, those people who were ignorant to you, who tried to hold you to stereotypes, are now the people who want to learn from you, employ you, are “proud of you” and in awe of you.

WATCH: Why January 26th is one of the most complex dates in Australia. Post continues below.

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Since I am writing this in the past tense, I want you to know a few of the things that are in store for you:

You became the second in your immediate family to graduate from high school while working two jobs at the same time.

You were accepted into university for your first preference choice… without an entrance score.

You became the first Indigenous Executive of the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (after 19 years in existence).

You were invited on behalf of the QLD Premier to be one of 800 people to witness Barack Obama speak on his visit to Australia during his presidency.

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You went overseas three times (all expenses paid) to your dream cities.

You became the Executive Leader of an international company. Oh, and did a Ted Talk while you were at it.

Did I mention you did all of this by the time you were 21?

This letter is not to gloat about your success, but rather a reminder of what got you to this point. 

Listen to Mamamia’s podcast, Tiddas 4 Tiddas. It features candid conversations with our Indigenous sisters, hosted by Kamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, Marlee Silva. Post continues below.

First and foremost, the strength you carry as a proud Kamilaroi, Barkindji, Ballardong and Whadjuk woman.

You stand on the shoulders of giants, and if it wasn’t for the strength your parents passed on from the generations before and for you reminding yourself every day that you are a strong, powerful, black woman, then you wouldn’t be where you are today.

For all the ignorance, stereotypes, racism and discrimination you’ll endure, you’ll choose to educate those people on WHY they should reconsider their actions and attitudes.

No matter how hard it gets, you were born resilient. You wouldn’t be here today if your people weren’t.

Finally, if you surround yourself with people who challenge you, inspire you and support you, then you’ll be unstoppable.

B, your future has so many things in store for you. Your achievements, the people and change you will influence will be nothing but great. BUT, in 10 years from now, I’m sorry to say… there is going to still be a lot of work to be done. 

Trust me when I say, there are going to be frustrating times ahead, the conversations will seem like deja-vu and there will not be a deficiency in the challenging times ahead. Particularly on certain days in the Australian calendar.

But I’m writing this to you so you know that we will, and have, accomplished a lot as a people and as a nation. Though on days like this, there is still a lot that goes unrecognised and, of course, overlooked. That comes down to telling the truth of this nation’s past and allowing us to establish our national identity together as a whole. 

I want to give you a piece of advice. Continue to push the boundaries. Educate people about the truth of this land and our people. And, of course, never back down from being the Strong Black Woman you are becoming.

Feature image: Supplied/@biancahunt96.

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