Pearl Gibbs on Discrimination Agaisnt Indigenous People in New South Wales

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“It is not ridiculous or silly to ask for citizenship in a country that is their own.” – Pearl Gibbs, 1938 Good morning/afternoon fellow members of Queensland Youth Parliament. It is a great honour to stand in front of you during Reconciliation Week and talk to you about an inspiring woman who greatly changed the lives of many Aboriginal descendants through her determination to bring forth a better life for her people. Pearl Gibbs, despite her natural light skin which gave her the opportunity to pass off as a white person and live a normal life, identified herself as aboriginal and struggled through discrimination to fight for equality for her people (Taffe, 2008). She had a substantial influence on the justice and citizenship rights of Aboriginal peoples between the 1920s and the early 1980s, and impacted both aboriginals and white people in her determination for equality between all races. Early discrimination she experienced first-hand and the conditions she saw her people in fuelled her motivation. She was a well-known figure associated with Aboriginal political activism and was actively involved in the founding and running of a number of organisations and groups (Taffe, 2008). Her life-time dedication impacted many Aboriginals, and even in death her achievements are still appreciated by many Aboriginals to this day. Pearl Gibbs was born in 1901 on the shores of Botany Bay in Sydney to her half-aboriginal blooded mother Margret Brown and her white father David Barry.

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