I am putting out a call to action.
And it’s threefold.
The next month is a big one, not just in my space and at the Queensland Rugby League, but on many levels and in many significant ways.
Firstly, this Sunday marks the start of NAIDOC Week 2022, coming off the back of the Hostplus Cup BMD Indigenous Round.
NAIDOC Week is without a doubt one of the most significant events on the Australian calendar.
Within rugby league circles, we should be out and about, celebrating and supporting this, being part of it.
That is the whole theme of NAIDOC Week this year - get up, stand up, show up.
So, my first call to action for the entire rugby league community, all clubs, all leagues, is to do just that.
It’s about getting up, standing up, showing up and empowering Indigenous people through our game. It’s about fighting for change, especially systematic and constitutional change, and playing our part in achieving equity.
Within the QRL, we will come together in Brisbane before Game III of State of Origin to recognise NAIDOC Week, reflect on Indigenous history, and to look at where we’ve come from to where we’re going with this constitutional change.
We will hear the experiences of Indigenous people and celebrate the culture, traditions, and food of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
This weekend we will also see the Hostplus Cup’s Indigenous Round, with clubs wearing Indigenous jerseys and hosting special, all-inclusive events.
I encourage clubs and communities across Queensland to do the same. Be aware of why you’re having this celebration – acknowledge the history and celebrate the culture and achievements made but also go past that and look at that next level, look at what we can do to empower others and create change.
One of the next big events in my calendar is that of the Wheelchair State of Origin.
This will be held on Saturday July 23 at Townsville Stadium and my challenge for the North Queensland community is to have at least 1000 people in attendance.
Come out, support our athletes, and watch Queensland beat New South Wales (… hopefully).
This match continues to grow in stature every year and I have no doubt the Townsville community will be very entertained.
There will also be a fundraising sportsman’s dinner the night before the match, raising money for our Skyring Australian Wheelaroos team ahead of their World Cup campaign.
Tickets are on sale now and I also encourage the Townsville community to get out to this one and have a good time while raising money for a good cause.
And finally, my last call to action is a bit of a personal cause.
After the Wheelchair State of Origin, I will be participating in the Sporting Wheelies CEO Wheelie Challenge on Friday July 29, in which I am in a wheelchair from 9am until 5pm.
I will be treating it like a normal day – I won’t be sitting at home, I will be going to work and getting out and about as much as I can. I want to do this right.
It is raising money for a really good cause in Para Sports and rehabilitation therapy in Queensland, which is lacking throughout our state.
My call to action however is this: other people should sign up and join in - principals, business leaders, CEOs and more.
It will be an eye-opening exercise and will hopefully raise awareness on how much we need to help those that are less fortunate than we are.