Chris and Kerryn Marks are helping to create transformative opportunities for students at the ANU College of Law, to equip future legal professionals as allies and advocates for Indigenous justice.
Thanks to Chris and Kerryn's support, students can participate in two groundbreaking partnerships between the College and remote community legal services - Kimberley Community Legal Services (KCLS) and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA).
Working with KCLS as interns, students gain valuable paralegal experience, remotely and onsite in Broome and Kununurra. They carry out research and prepare submissions and case materials, supporting the delivery of vital legal services to a client base which is 90 per cent Indigenous.
In partnership with NAAJA and Winkiku Rrumbangi NT Indigenous Lawyers, ANU College of Law developed an intensive course, 'Legal Education for True Justice: Deep Listening on Country'. The course allows students to travel on Arrente and Anangu Country in the Northern Territory, to participate in an immersive learning experience of how the legal profession can truly listen to First Nations voices and honour their aspirations for justice.
Chris and Kerryn Marks' own experiences of travelling in the Kimberley illuminated some of the challenges faced by First Nations Peoples, as well as the incredible richness and resilience of their continuing cultures.
"I've always felt frustrated by the lack of knowledge and acknowledgement of Indigenous people's history and contribution to our country," says Chris.
"Community legal services are such an important initiative because they help address the discrimination that continues to affect Indigenous health, wellbeing and opportunity," says Chris.
By providing law students with transformative experiences serving organisations who work to improve justice outcomes for Indigenous Australia, Chris and Kerryn hope the impact of their giving will extend many years into the future.
ANU student Abigail Widijanto says, "Being in the Kimberley and working at KCLS has been an invaluable legal experience. [It has] taught me that what matters most is finding a sense of purpose in serving others. It has truly been a life changing experience."