Support Act has announced that William (Will) Oui will replace Cerisa Benjamin as its new First Nations Programs Lead.
A proud Meriam man from Zenadth Kes (the Torres Strait Islands), Will has strong connections to the Samsep peoples from Erub (Darnley Island).
Having been born, raised and currently living and creating in the Yugambeh language region of the Gold Coast, Will is passionate about diversity and inclusion for all First Nations peoples in all spaces. He is also a musician, playing the keys for the independent band Rialto Five and Kristal West.
He brings 14 years’ experience to the role, having worked in a variety of support roles across health, wellbeing and employment for non-profit community-based organisations and within the government sector. Will has been employed by Support Act since January 2023, working as the charity’s First Nations Community Engagement / Caseworker.
Clive Miller, CEO of Support Act, explains:“We’re excited to welcome Will into this important role. He is a great advocate for First Nations music workers and has been a wonderful support to Cerisa over the past six months with the development of our new Diversity Equity and Inclusion workshop, Voices Amplified, and as a co-presenter and panelist on Yarning Strong.
“He has big shoes to fill, but we know he will do an outstanding job and ensure that Support Act continues to provide culturally intelligent support and leadership for First Nations music workers in this space.”
Will adds: “I feel so privileged to receive this opportunity. Through Support Act, I’m looking forward to harmonising voices and empowering First Nations artists and music workers on their transformative journies of healing and artistic development.”
Will replaces Cerisa Benjamin, who finishes up with Support Act on 31 July after three years in the role. Cerisa leaves many significant achievements, including the development of a First Nations Strategic Plan; the creation and delivery of the Yarning Strong open access webinars and live events which explore mental health and wellbeing for First Nations people working in music; the development of new First Nations Diversity Equity and Inclusion Training, Voices Amplified; and a First Nations version of the charity’s Mental Health First Aid program.
Through her case work, she has dramatically increased the number of First Nations music workers accessing crisis relief and using the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline. Cerisa will continue to be part of the Support Act family as a member of its First Nations Advisory Committee, and occasional presenter and panelist on its dedicated First Nations programs.