In the aftermath of the public death of George Floyd in the USA last May, millions of outraged citizens around the world took to the streets to protest a range of longstanding and systemic issues related to human rights, social justice and race relations.

Here in Australia, George Floyd’s death served to highlight the ongoing reality of high rates of Indigenous incarceration and Aboriginal deaths in custody. Specifically, in the weeks that followed, there was a lot of discussion about the 441 Aboriginal deaths in custody that had occurred since the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991. 

At this ChangeMakers event, we will focus on the Australian context for the Black Lives Matter movement and how you can contribute to driving change in this critically important area.


Professor Deborah Terry AO

Vice-Chancellor and President
The University of Queensland

Professor Deborah Terry AO is Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland (UQ). Prior to commencing this role in August 2020, she served as Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, in Western Australia (from February 2014 to July 2020). 

Professor Terry was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in June 2015, in recognition of her distinguished service to education in the tertiary sector.

She is also Chair of the Board of Universities Australia; a Fellow and past President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia; an appointed member of the Australian Research Council Advisory Council; and serves on the Australia and New Zealand School of Government Board and Australia's Academic and Research Network Board. 

Having grown up in Perth and Canberra, Professor Terry completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the Australian National University in Canberra. From there, she commenced her distinguished career at UQ in 1990, initially as an internationally recognised scholar in psychology. During her 24 years at UQ, Professor Terry progressed through a number of senior leadership roles to become Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, before leaving for her role as Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University in early 2014.


Associate Professor Chelsea Watego

Principal Research Fellow, School of Social Science
The University of Queensland
Associate Professor Chelsea Watego is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman and a Principal Research Fellow within the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland. She has worked as an Aboriginal Health Worker and researcher in communities across south-east Queensland for the past 20 years with her work focused on interpreting and privileging Indigenous experiences of the health system, including critically examining the role of Aboriginal health workers, the narratives of Indigeneity produced within public health, and advocating for strength based community development approaches to Indigenous health promotion practice. Her current research supported by the Australian Research Council seeks to examine how race and racism operate within the health system in producing the persisting health disparities experienced by Indigenous peoples.

Associate Professor Watego is a board member of Inala Wangarra (an Indigenous community development association within her own community), and one half of the Wild Black Women on Brisbane’s 98.9FM and NITV’s The Point.

Amy McQuireMs Amy McQuire 

Darumbal and South Sea Islander journalist, PhD Candidate 
The University of Queensland 

Amy is a freelance writer and journalist, and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Queensland into media representations of violence against Aboriginal women.

Amy began her career straight out of high school, completing a cadetship at the National Indigenous Times (NIT) newspaper. She later became editor of NIT, and for a short time political correspondent for NITV News. Amy has also worked at Tracker Magazine, New Matilda, Brisbane’s 98.9 FM – where she presented the ‘Lets Talk’ current affairs show – and more recently BuzzFeed News Australia.

Over the past four years, Amy has co-hosted the investigative podcast ‘Curtain’ with human rights lawyer Martin Hodgson. The podcast puts forth the case for innocence for Aboriginal man Kevin Henry, who was wrongfully convicted in 1992. Amy has a strong interest in writing about justice, culture and heritage and feminism.

Francis NonaMr Francis Nona

Lecturer, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine
The University of Queensland

Francis Nona is a Lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. Prior to this role, he has worked as Clinic Manager and Acting CEO in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation in regional Queensland. He is a Registered Nurse and has worked in a youth detention centre, rural hospital, rehabilitation and aged care settings. 

Francis is a proud Torres Strait Islander man from Badu Island and undertook traditional initiation in the Torres Strait. He speaks his traditional language fluently and has seen the impacts of systemic racism and colonisation in both his personal life and in his professional roles. Francis has seen the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the detention service he worked in.

ChangeMakers Moderator:

Professor Anita Heiss

UQ Professor of Communications, The University of Queensland

Prof Anita Heiss is the award-winning author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, children’s novels and travel articles. She is a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation of central NSW,  an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, the GO Foundation and Worawa Aboriginal College.

Her adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr RightManhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her most recent books include Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms which was longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize and was named the University of Canberra’s 2020 Book of the Year.

The anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia which Anita edited, was named the Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards.

In 2004 Anita was listed in The Bulletin magazine’s “Smart 100”. Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You?  was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero).

As an advocate for Indigenous literacy, Anita has worked in remote communities as a role model and encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories. On an international level she has performed her own work and lectured on Aboriginal literature across the globe at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, India, New Caledonia, China, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany and New Zealand.

Anita is a board member of the State Library of Queensland, the University of Queensland Press and Circa. Anita is a Professor of Communications at the University of QLD and artist in residence at  La Boite Theatre, adapting her novel Tiddas for the stage.

Anita enjoys eating  chocolate, running half-marathons and being a 'creative disruptor'.

About Alumni events

UQ alumni and community events take place in-person and online, across the globe, throughout the year. UQ alumni are invited to join the UQ ChangeMakers platform to access early event registrations, benefits and discounts.

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