There is no greater legacy than to improve the lot of others, to change lives, to save lives, “Gerry Georgatos”
“There is no greater legacy than to improve the lot of others, to change lives, to save lives,” Gerry Georgatos
Gerry Georgatos (Γεράσιμος Γεωργάτος), born in 1962, has remained constant as a social justice and human rights campaigner despite changing professions again and again and foraying into various experiences. His social justice and human rights campaigns began at an early age, from 11 years of age. From that young age he would represent workers of migrant Greek backgrounds, victims of asbestosis – mesothelioma – who struggled with the English language.
Gerry Georgatos is the eldest of six children to Napoleon Georgatos and Angela (Fanou) Georgatos. Napoleon and Angela, a factory worker and seamstress respectively, were dedicated to community service. Gerry’s own human rights and social justice work was inspired by his parents’ tireless contributions to the Greek community and in positively responding to the racial and cultural divides that were the profound experiences of his parents and his own.
- Gerry Georgatos discussed his parents, his youth, social justice and racism with Neos Kosmos journalist Penni Pappas in‘The milk of human kindness.’ Go here to read: The milk of human kindness – Neos Kosmos
These days Gerry Georgatos is a university-based and freelance researcher and academic however his professional work, as always, continues to be indelibly intertwined with human rights and social justice causes. He is the convener of Humanitarian Programs at the Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights. However, in recent years he has dedicated himself to suicide prevention – a leading cause of death. Gerry Georgatos has been responsible for pushing onto the national landscape the extensiveness of the suicide crises among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Because of his research, public campaigns and face to face lobbying of Federal Ministers, he was able to craft and launch national responses, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP). Gerry Georgatos secured adequate funding for the Project from the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, and then willed the project away to strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who went from strength to strength crafting the ways forward. Gerry Georgatos was one of the project’s team and with colleagues travelled the nation in suicide prevention community consultations, research and in urging the ways forward. Because of the ATSISPEP there is now work towards toward developing real time data, notification protocols and evaluation tools in what works.
“The pressing issue of suicide prevention must translate as a national priority,” Gerry Georgatos
Gerry Georgatos cultivated significant media coverage and combined this coverage with his representations to governments to produce various results. From 2012 to 2015, he published in the public domain more than 300 articles on the suicide crises and on suicide prevention. Georgatos also willed away his PhD research in suicide prevention and “racialisation” into the public domain in order to expedite a cultural shift with an onus on the ways forward.
ABC News – Suicide, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis
ABC News Queensland – “Cry for help”
SBS/NITV News – Critical response
ABC News – Elevated risk
ABC Australia Wide – Suicide prevention