Festival storyteller gloria

‘Never be afraid to ask. No is just two letters and they aren’t going to hurt you.’

Small in stature but big in spirit Gloria lives her life with a deep sense of social justice. Known as ‘the terrier’, by work colleagues, Gloria is a fearless advocate for many. 

She attributes her strong sense of self to growing up with three Aboriginal brothers and witnessing racism and discrimination on a very personal level.

‘Our family was unique in our small country town. My little brother and I were white, and my three older brothers were Aboriginal. We were marginalized because we weren’t like everybody else. I learnt to stand up for myself and all my brothers. It taught me to hate discrimination.’

Gloria’s daughter was born with a disability giving Gloria first-hand experience of the many challenges such families face. She has advocated for the integration of disabled children in schools as well as running self-help groups for the disabled.

‘We are all human beings,’ Gloria says. ‘We should be accepted for who we are.’

Gloria has an ability to connect with people from any culture or background. She has been honored with the title ‘Habboba’ (‘Grandmother’ in Sudanese). Her advocacy was pivotal in reuniting families broken up by war.

Her community work ranges widely from setting up support groups for parents to reaching out to the lonely, elderly and vulnerable.

She draws on her experiences as a J.P. and Bail Justice for more than 20 years.

Despite suffering from chronic illness, Gloria refuses to be defined by it. She loves feeling useful and being of service to others. It gives her a deep sense of joy in life.

And what does Gloria do when she has a rare moment to put her feet up? Machine embroidery and going away with her childhood sweetheart, her husband, in their caravan.

‘I’m a bit of a rebel,’ Gloria says. ‘I just go out and do things that need to be done.’

‘Never be afraid to ask. No is just two letters and they aren’t going to hurt you.’