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 Riverstone Aboriginal Leader Vilma Ryan And Michael Jackson

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PostSubject: Riverstone Aboriginal Leader Vilma Ryan And Michael Jackson   Wed May 09, 2012 4:56 am




Riverstone Aboriginal leader Vilma Ryan has broken a 22-year pledge of silence to speak about her encounters with Michael Jackson. Mrs Ryan, 70, arranged for the star to visit Murawina Preschool at Redfern when he was in the country during his 1987 tour in support of the Bad album. She said she had been sworn to strict secrecy. ``Michael was very interested in Aboriginal affairs, especially black deaths in custody, but didn't want to alienate his fans,'' Mrs Ryan said. At the time of the visit Mrs Ryan worked as director of the center. She said she had been told the visit would have been cancelled if the press found out. ``I was also warned not to publicize it even after his return to America,'' she said. ``That's why it was never reported. ``It was the highlight of my life and my biggest secret for 22 years.'' Mrs Ryan said she was first invited to meet Jackson at the Regent Hotel in Sydney after she passed a letter to his people at Sydney Airport. ``Michael wanted to meet with staff, parents and kids of the preschool after his Sydney concert when I told him about my work,'' she said. ``He gave me 100 tickets to his concert at Parramatta Stadium when I told him our kids couldn't afford to see his show. ``He was very polite, soft spoken and respectful during our meeting.'' She said that the day after his concert, Mr Jackson's people asked her to meet at his hotel and guide him and about 30 others to Redfern. ``I organized a team of Aboriginal women guards to look after his security and instructed them to lock the doors after his arrival,'' she said. ``He spent about two hours at the center talking with the kids, their parents and staff.'' She also organized for a group picture later of Jackson with the kids at a Surry Hills photo studio. ``I cried when I heard he passed away and so did many of the kids who met him.''
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