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Stepping up for truth
Akuch Kuol Anyieth always had in the back of her mind that she would write the story of her life and that of her family and friends. She wanted to record an honest account of refugee life and resettlement in Australia.

Her family would cry as she read each draft chapter to them, but she knew her task was important; a form of advocacy for greater understanding of the mental illness suffered by traumatised refugees who have been through war.

“In a nutshell, you bring yourself with you,” she says.

Each year, high school teacher and artist Adele Chapman-Burgess takes her year eight class to the Myall Creek memorial in north-east New South Wales. It was here, in June 1838, that at least 28 Wirrayaraay people were killed in a massacre by white stockmen, their bodies later piled up and burned.

The students are “blown away when they see the memorial”, she says, which includes a walking trail and a large stone with a brass plaque, on which a vandal at one point scratched out the word “murdered”.

Steve's essays Bent Man Running published in Growing Up Queer in Australia and Stream drama in Meanjin autumn 2020.
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