Black-out on black history month [with video]

Failure by the Brisbane City Council to promote a major indigenous event had resulted in disappointing participation, according to a panel speaker.

Family intervention counsellor Theresa Mace said Black History Month had  poor attendance and awareness, which she sheeted home to lack of advertising by the Council.

The BCC libraries spent the month of August celebrating Australia’s indigenous history with sessions ranging from screenings of indigenous films to panel discussions of prestigious indigenous speakers and writers.

But only small audiences came to witness and participate.

Ms Mace, who was a speaker on the “Indigenous Children’s Issues” panel, said there were eight people in the audience –  a similar turn-out to last year’s Black History Month.

“I guess it comes down to the lack of advertising from the Brisbane City Council,” she said.  “It is also following a big month – the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week is celebrated in July.

“Different places would be holding their own individual sectors.”

Ms Mace said Black History Month was important and would help bring awareness to the younger generation of Indigenous Australia.

She said Black History Month was “very significant”.

“I am an indigenous descendant and I have nieces and nephews growing up outside of the indigenous culture and more closer to the Americanised culture,” she said.

Editor of the Northern Indigenous Times Stephen Hagan, who was apart of the “Writing Strong, Staying Deadly” panel, said he did not base the success of the talk on the size of the audience.

“I have done talks in front of three people and groups of three thousand people  – it doesn’t make a difference to me,” he said.

But Mr Hagan said if audiences were lower than expected the BCC should extend its advertising.

“It is very rare to have three writers come together so if the Brisbane City Council are embarrassed about the turn out, then they should do more advertising,” he said.

A street poll  in the Queen Street mall last week showed  none of the 13 respondents  knew it was Black History Month but about half said they were willing to attend these sessions held by the Brisbane City Council.

After six phone messages over four days, Brisbane City Council Black History Month organiser Nancy Bamager said she had to get permission from the BCC before she could respond to questions about advertising and poor attendance.

But at the time of publication Ms Bamager has not called Newsbytes back.

Video editor:  David Stuart

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