By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, 15.02.2021 (IPS): Keenan Mundine grew up in the Aboriginal community social housing called The Block, infamous for poor living conditions, alcohol and drug use, and violence, in Sydney’s Redfern suburb. At the age of about seven, soon after losing his parents to drugs and suicide, he was separated from his siblings and placed in kinship care.
“I felt robbed of my childhood. I didn’t feel safe and it made me struggle with my living conditions and mental health. I couldn’t concentrate at school and got into lot of trouble. I spent sleepless nights contemplating what my situation would be if my parents were still alive. At the age of 14, I ended up on the streets and tried to work my way around it”, Mundine tells IPS.
Today, he is using his own lived experience of navigating the criminal justice system that helped change the trajectory of his life to devise creative and innovative solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so they can break free from the cycle of violence, police and prisons.
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