School authorities have been urged not to let Aboriginal children fall through the cracks at the launch of annual NAIDOC Week celebrations in Dubbo
After a peaceful march along Macquarie Street, about 100 community members gathered at the rotunda on Monday to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal people and hear Gamilaroi community leader Peter Gibbs speak.
"If you're in education please do not let our kids spend one hour outside of a classroom," Mr Gibbs urged.
"Don't stand back and let our kids get pushed out onto the sporting field. Education is the key.
"If we're letting our kids spend a day outside of a classroom, we're gonna find them in another place where they're gonna spend months and years."
Mr Gibbs encouraged young people to be inspired by the lives of leaders like respected Aboriginal rights campaigners William Ferguson and Marty Gordon.
"Next year we need Aboriginal people to stand up for Dubbo Regional Council," Mr Gibbs said.
"We need you to put your foot forward. Don't stand back and wait for other people to do this, we need to take this opportunity ourselves."
Aboriginal young people should not underestimate the potential they have to make a difference in the world, Mr Gibbs said.
"Think about what it might mean if you are the first black Prime Minister," he said.
The Dubbo Koori Interagency Network (DKIN) helped organise the launch event, which will be followed by a range of other NAIDOC Week celebrations including an Indigenous Business Trade Fair on Wednesday and rugby league knock out on Saturday.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.