The South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) has formally commenced the development of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The SMJFL is committed to reconciliation and education and has long endeavoured to provide all its participants with a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.
The RAP will be the league’s next step to ensuring an all-inclusive league, says SMJFL Chief Executive Officer Sarah Loh.
“The RAP will see the league develop relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, establishing greater understanding and respect for the Traditional Custodians of the land the league operates on, gaining greater knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, and creating resources for the league’s member clubs and their participants,” said Ms Loh.
“The RAP will also see the league address the racism that we see in all parts of life, including sport,” she said.
“Narratives about race and racism have resonated with so many in the community, including myself.”
“In collaboration with SMJFL club representatives, through building relationships with local First Nations organisations and support from Reconciliation Australia, the SMJFL will continue to lead the way for grassroots football and do its part to stamp out racism and increase knowledge of First Nations cultures throughout the league”
SMJFL Chairperson Richard Bowen spoke of the importance of embedding a wider understanding of reconciliation.
“The league’s 2019 to 2021 Strategic Plan committed the league to expand its efforts in providing a safe and inclusive environment for the community. The RAP will be an important reconciliation piece that will be a valuable resource for all 25 member clubs,” Mr Bowen said.
“The creation of the league’s Reflect RAP will be a meaningful and inspiring journey that will see the league continue to raise the bar in the community sport landscape,” he said.
“The league aims to create a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for all its participants, and this RAP will play a big role in continuing this mission.”
The SMJFL will follow Community Partner St Kilda Football Club in establishing a RAP and was heavily influenced by St Kilda Football Club’s investment and dedication to reconciliation.
St Kilda Football Club Chief Executive Officer Matt Finnis congratulated the SMJFL on their efforts.
“The St Kilda Football Club congratulates the SMJFL for showing leadership in the community by commencing their journey to developing a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan,” said Mr Finnis.
“The Saints and the SMJFL have a strong partnership and I look forward to extending our partnership through reconciliation.”