Ada Hanson rarely stays in one place for too long but wherever she goes, she makes it her aim to help people become agents of positive change in their community.
Raised in the Great Sandy Desert and the Pilbara, the Aboriginal woman moved to Kalgoorlie-Boulder from Perth in March 2017 when she was offered the role of community development officer for Red Cross.
Ms Hanson said her upbringing heavily influenced her decision to dedicate her time and abilities to making sure minority groups were represented.
“Growing up in some of the most isolated communities, I think that’s where my passion grew to become an advocate and use my knowledge to try and bring about better standards and equality for Aboriginal people,” she said.
After arriving in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Ms Hanson said she worked to understand the needs of local Aboriginal families and individuals.
“What we were hearing was that Aboriginal people wanted opportunities to celebrate being an Aboriginal person,” she said.
“The local people and some of the representatives that were coming together were saying they would like to see family days and celebrations where all people could come and be a part of.”
Ms Hanson has during the past two years been involved in co-ordinating Kalgoorlie- Boulder’s NAIDOC celebrations, which include ceremonies at Centennial Park, parades down Hannan Street, Aboriginal film screenings and activities at local schools.
Several nationally recognised Aboriginal musicians have also visited the Goldfields during NAIDOC week, with Ms Hanson saying music can be a powerful tool of empowerment.
Ms Hanson left Kalgoorlie-Boulder yesterday to move to Perth where she will continue to use her knowledge and experience to represent Aboriginal people in WA.
Ms Hanson said she was proud of what the Aboriginal community in Kalgoorlie- Boulder had achieved during the past several years but said there was still more to be done to ensure their needs were met.
“The community has overcome a lot and they have progressed in what they are doing to bring about equality for Aboriginal people,” she said.
“But there are gaps and as an Aboriginal person myself I can see those gaps for what they are.
“Aboriginal people’s voices within service design and service delivery still isn’t represented.
“There is a bit of change, it is slowly happening where organisations are understanding that the people who have lived these experiences are the ones who have the strategies and solutions to move forward.
“There is a big push to co-design programs, events, activities and everything in between and there is a lot of evidence that suggests this is the best way forward.”
Ms Hanson said she would also like to see Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s leaders be more proactive in working with not-for-profits and community organisations to celebrate the Goldfields’ Aboriginal culture.
“I think the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder definitely has a huge role to play in this,” she said.
“I know that they are on their journey with the Reconciliation Action Plan and how that will look and what they will implement from there.
“Definitely giving opportunities for the community to engage with Aboriginal people and giving Aboriginal people the chance to celebrate their identity is a really big thing and it will be lovely to see that happen.”
Ms Hanson said she was sad to be leaving the Goldfields but was confident other locals would continue to advocate for Aboriginal people in the community and looked forward to a new challenge in Perth.
“There have been some really great people who have been part of the journey who are aware of all these different initiatives and programs that we identified and I think they are empowered to keep going with them,” she said.
“I am excited I get to share my knowledge with my new workplace and help them on their journey to being able to engage in an honest and true and meaningful sense with Aboriginal people.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, my motto is to be able to empower whoever I am working with.”