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John Fitz Jakamarra, Winner of the Fitzgerald Justice Award, NT Human Rights Awards 2021

John Fitz Jakamarra is a well-respected Warumungu elder, born on Banka Banka country. He is a traditional man who is seen by young and old in his town and across the Barkly Region as a strong role model for young Aboriginal people.

John dedicates much of his time as a community mentor to the welfare, wellbeing and reintegration of local people in the Barkly community.

He is committed to supporting those who have been impacted or are at risk of being impacted by the justice system. Over many years, John has supported many local men, both young and old, who have had difficulty settling back into their community following custodial sentences. In recent years, he has extended that work by making direct contact with Tennant Creek locals who find themselves in either the Alice Springs prison or the Youth Detention Centre.

Not only does John create the connection between the incarcerated and their family members living back in the Barkly region through conveying messages and sharing information, he talks about the work he does with his team of helpers at The Paterson Street Hub and encourages them to connect with him once they return home.

Projects he has established that help integrate those around him to be proud of their community and its children include recycling and repurposing furniture, taking teenage boys with high support needs on a four day camping trip to Barunga Festival, setting up a team of helpers at the Paterson Street Hub, painting tombstones to commemorate deceased community members, and uses sport as means of breaking down barriers.

John is a key member of NT Shelter’s Barkly Region Accommodation Action Group. He is passionate about the need for appropriate and affordable housing. He is a very polite man but is also a very determined advocate for change. He is committed to seeing his community get more housing, and better-quality housing, as a means of addressing overcrowding and alleviating poverty.

Congratulations to John Fitz Jakamarra on this well-deserved recognition of his work. You can hear his acceptance speech here.

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