My name is Breanna Jackson-Reid, I am a 29-year-old Ballardong/Wardandi Noongar woman. I was born and have grown up on Whadjuk country. My Mum is not Aboriginal, she is Australian with Scottish and English heritage. My Dad is a fiercely proud Noongar man. To this day their devotion and love to ensure I knew who I was, who all of me was, is something I deeply appreciate. After many years of their teachings and teachings from the wider community about myself and my culture, I feel confident in navigating both the Western and Aboriginal worlds which form parts of my identity.
I left school at 15 years of age. This was not by choice but necessity, after enduring two years of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from students, simply because I was Aboriginal. “Too white to be black and too black to be white” is a concept that I battled with for a number of years during my early teens. It wasn't until I was 19 that I finally understood how proud I should be to be part of the longest surviving culture in the world. Reflecting on this experience I had in my formative years, I feel I was able to get through this period in my life because of my ancestors and the resilience that I have ingrained in me, because of the adversity they overcame.
Today I work for a not-for-profit organisation as the Executive Coordinator after completing qualifications in Business, Tourism and Community Services. The position that I hold allows me to participate in several projects which have been created to address key issues in the sector, including a recent investment in an Aboriginal owned construction company aimed to support and improve Aboriginal employment. In my position I am appreciated for my insights and am often a go-to person for my non-Aboriginal co-workers, who come to me for advice on Aboriginal history, ways of working and key annual events.
While I love my present job, I am in the midst of a career change, currently working to complete my degree in Social Work at Curtin University. I am passionate about child protection. In my future role I hope to influence the systems and policies that fundamentally contribute to the over-representation of Aboriginal people, with particular focus on early intervention practices and raising awareness of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander placement principles. I want to ensure that Aboriginal families who are in contact with the Department have someone who can assist them with navigating the system. My goal is to use my position of privilege to advocate for better social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal Australians.
I aspire to be a positive role model for all Aboriginal people, particularly young Aboriginal people who find themselves in a similar situation that I once did. I speak to them when I say; remember that the colour of your skin does not define who you are. I encourage all Aboriginal people to keep pushing ahead, even if you are told that you can’t do something. Continue to fight with me, to balance the injustice we face and take up every opportunity that becomes available to you. Many people in my life so far have tried to tell me I can’t do something and my response to them each time has been “watch me”.
I am honoured to have been chosen as a finalist for the Miss NAIDOC Perth program for 2021 and can feel already how the program is pushing me out of my comfort zone and giving me the opportunity to become the best version of myself that I can be. I am grateful to have this platform where my voice can join the hundred before it and help to change the perception others have of Aboriginal people.
We run social groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to get together for a yarn in a friendly and informal setting. Call 08 6274 3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org