Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Well, here's my first blog post!

Sorry for the slight delay, but these past few weeks have been incredibly hectic. After returning from Perth on August 14th, I only had one week to prepare for my semester in Washington D.C.! I have been in D.C. exactly one week now, and I think that I have finally settled into life in the Capitol.

As an introduction to my blog, I want to explain why I am doing this in the first place...

This past spring I proposed a project to the Engaged Learning office at Southern Methodist University. I was granted a scholarship to do independent research and travel to Perth, Australia with the Embrey Human Rights Program in order to study the current status of Aboriginal (or indigenous) rights in the country, and the efficacy of organizations promoting restorative justice and equality. I hoped to achieve this information by meeting with leaders in the Aboriginal community, interviewing human rights activists, and recording recent news relating to the progress of combatting discrimination.

Upon my arrival, our group witnessed the distinct beauty and culture that is AUSTRALIA

 The gorgeous Swan River that winds around Perth

Past students from Professor Dennis Simon's Civil Rights Pilgrimage reunited with a photo of Dr. King

The modern Perth skyline gleaming at sunset of our first day

The Bell Tower

Some of the group posing with the kangaroos!

Isn't that a pretty sight?

Our first official meeting of the trip was with Simon Forrest, an indigenous elder who works at the Curtin Centre for Aboriginal Studies. Simon performed a traditional Aboriginal "Welcome to Country" ceremony explaining the significance of King's National Park, or Kaarta gar-up, to the indigenous Noongar people.

Another interesting fact: Before the Europeans settled some 200 years ago, Perth was called Boorloo by the Noongar people. This is the name that was used for 40,000 years... so I think it is fitting that I use it as well.

Simon used sandalwood and gum from the grassroot tree in the smoking ceremony to symbolize the origins of his mother and father.

Yes, that is a kangaroo pelt...

Here is most of the Human Rights group with our WONDERFUL guide and friend, Gary Hepworth, without whom this trip would never have existed

Our first sighting of authentic Australian wildlife: the kookaburra! 

I just thought this tree was too beautiful to pass up a photo...

Dr. Halperin, as always, representing the program.

I think this is a good place to stop as far as an introduction to the trip...

I will continue to update the blog while I am here in D.C. with more information regarding the trip to Australia, my research project, and other relevant news/media that have to do with human rights in Australia!

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