A Video Message to Oprah

8 December, 2010

A Video Message to Oprah
December 08, 2010

One of Australia's most influential black women will give a personal video message to Oprah Winfrey - one of the world's most influential black women - to help shine a light on the third world conditions endured by her people.

The Chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Bev Manton, says she will provide a short video on the appalling living conditions of Aboriginal people in rural and remote Australia to highlight their plight when she meets Ms. Winfrey during her visit to Sydney later this week.

"Aboriginal people in rural and remote Australia continue to suffer third world conditions because they are basically out of the sight and out of the minds of most Australians," Ms Manton says."

The video also highlights aspects of the Northern Territory intervention, an Australian Government initiative which has caused harm to Aboriginal people, and been branded racially discriminatory by the United Nations.

Ms. Manton says she welcomes Ms. Winfrey's visit and the publicity avalanche it will inevitably generate to a world-wide audience.

"I understand the importance of tourism to the Australian economy and the importance of our culture and heritage to it," she added.
"But I want Ms. Winfrey and her audience to fully appreciate the plight of our people.

"I do not want her visit to come and go with a white bread portrayal of our country....and given Oprah's history and charity work I am sure it will not.

"I will simply ask Oprah to take a few minutes out of her time to have a look at the video and appreciate the continuing socio-economic and life opportunity gaps suffered by our people in relation to the general well-being of most of their fellow Australians.

"I acknowledge we have come a long way since our original dispossession but the sad reality is that we still have a long, long way to go to improve the social and economic well-being of our people.

"I'm sure the video will be received in the spirit in which it is being given.
"Oprah is clearly a person who uses her power and resources to help those in need.

"I have a lot of respect for the work done by Oprah in relation to civil rights and racism in America and the work done by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, her Angel network and associated charities, particularly in building schools and providing educational materials for underprivileged children in Africa and books for underprivileged children in rural China.

"We can give no greater gift than access to education."

A short trailer of the video, entitled 'A Personal Journey' can be viewed on the NSWALC website at /newsroom/videos.aspx

The full 15 minute version of the video will be released publicly on December 20, at the conclusion of Ms Winfrey's visit.

* Bev Manton is the elected Chairwoman of the Sydney-based New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Australia's largest self-funded Aboriginal representative organisation. It supports a network of 119 Local Aboriginal Land Councils across NSW with a combined membership of more than 20,000 Aboriginal people.
It is dedicated to work for the economic and social independence of Aboriginal people and provides a range of community benefit schemes for Aboriginal people, such as its $30 million Education Endowment Scholarship Fund.

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Munro 0438 760 242


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.