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Football Star Lydia Williams On The Importance Of Belonging

"Constitutional recognition will give the next generation a newfound confidence"

The year 2020 marks 250 years since James Cook’s first voyage to Australia, yet today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still aren’t acknowledged in our constitution.

The time is now for recognition and reform, as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

This month, marie claire joins forces with some of Australia’s biggest and brightest names to unite for change. Here, soccer player Lydia Williams talks about the hardships faced by young Indigenous people and her hope for the next generation…

“My dad was an Indigenous tribal elder and my mum is American. She quit her job on Wall Street and flew out to Western Australia, where she met my dad. Growing up, we had two pet kangaroos and my parents were missionaries; we visited outback communities, helping them get off alcohol and stop petrol sniffing, and offering them a place to sleep if they needed it. 

Today I want to carry on my parents’ legacy, using my platform as an athlete [the Matildas’ first Indigenous goalkeeper]. Sport unites a community and has helped me feel a sense of belonging. I think that’s the hardest thing for young Indigenous people; what do they identify as? If we recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution, it will give the next generation a confidence that they belong.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of marie claire.

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