By Alice Barker
15 years ago, Essendon champion Michael Long set out from his home in Melbourne with the task of walking over 650 kilometres to Parliament House in Canberra.
Long had one thing on his mind, to rid the Australian Football League of racism.
Eleven days later, on 3 December 2004, Long arrived in Canberra and met with then-Prime Minister John Howard the following day, asserting racism has no place in sport.
Since 2004, the Long Walk has grown and now exists across the country with people walking for reconciliation and more importantly, for a united Australia.
Registrations for Brisbane’s fifth annual Long Walk are now open and is set to take place on 1 June this year, prior to the Brisbane Lions taking on the Hawthorn Hawks at the Gabba.
This modified walk is set to leave from South Bank and will finish at The Gabba, with last year’s numbers exceeding 450 the walk provides an opportunity for all indigenous and non-indigenous people to participate in Long’s mission of hope.
Sparked many years ago by the injustice he and his people felt both on and off the field, Long is now one of AFL’s most recognisable figures and was a pioneering force behind the racial vilification code that was adopted by the AFL in the 1990s.
AFL Queensland continues to support equality of all players and supporters of the league and hope to see participants in this year’s Long Walk Brisbane supporting this significant cause.
To demonstrate your support for this cause, click here to register today.