Recognition for South Sea Islander Advocate
A Pacific communities advocate who has dedicated her working life to raising the profile of marginalised descendants of Australia’s indentured slave trade has been awarded top honours by the NSW Government. The Settlement Services International Human Rights Medal was awarded to Waskam Emelda Davis as part of the 2020 Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals. Ms Davis is the founding member and President of ASSIPJ and was instrumental in establishing the first national South Sea Islander constitution.
Pastor Ray Minniecon, whose ancestors were forcibly removed and brought to Australia during the Blackbirding era, said Ms Davis “worked passionately and tirelessly with the Australian South Sea Islander community in progressing initiatives for social justice for our people”. In particular, he noted Ms Davis’ work in “raising awareness of our blackbirding history and highlighting his people as a distinct cultural group.”
Ms Davis said she was humbled to receive the Premier’s NSW Human Rights medal. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of all those who have fought for justice for Australian South Sea Islanders in Australia and the region. “It is a fantastic recognition of Australian South Sea Islander ‘Black-birding’ history, our culture, and fight for self-determination and equal opportunity across all areas of government within Australia.”
ACRATH is pleased to congratulate Waskam Emelda Davis on her achievements and looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the Australian South Sea Islander Community.