The death of George Floyd has sent waves of anger and outrage across the globe, with protests taking place across America, Europe and Australia. Thousands of Australians attended the Black Lives Matter protests in Sydney last Saturday, demanding to put an end to Indigenous deaths in police custody. Many have shown their support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, questioning how we can take positive action to end racism in our communities. Donating to relevant charities or signing petitions is fantastic, but the most important part is to take time to read, listen and learn to recognise unhelpful behaviours and how to correct them.
It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on systemic racism and the issues faced by Indigenous people and black communities, not just in the United States, but also in Australia.
Buy and support Indigenous and black-owned businesses
It helps to simply support Indigenous and black owned businesses/brands and creatives like designers, musicians and writers. Olivia Williams is a proud Wiradjuri woman and provides her Instagram followers via @blakbusiness with explainations on topics around Indigenous Australia while promoting black businesses. She said in one of her posts – “purchasing and wearing merchandise such as jewellery, clothing and tote bags from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses is one way allies can support the Indigenous community.” Take a look at the Indigenous art galleries across Sydney, including Kate Owen Gallery in Rozelle, to see their beautiful contemporary Aboriginal art. You can also start to read books written by authors with Aboriginal heritage. Creative Spirits is a great website where you can search for books of all genres.
What to Watch: (all on Netflix or Amazon Prime)
13th: The US has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. The film explores race, justice, and the prison system in the United States. The Thirteenth Amendment (which outlawed slavery, but left a significant loophole), has led to the mass incarceration of African Americans.
When They See Us tells the true story of the Central Park Five, a group of young black men who were wrongly charged with assaulting and raping a jogger in New York’s Central Park and the ensuing legal fight against their convictions, caused by racial injustice.
Fruitvale Station is based on the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man who was killed in 2009 by police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale district station in Oakland.
The New York Times on YouTube also hosts A Conversation with Black Women on Race. It is a short documentary in which black women are talking about everyday challenges they are facing and how it makes them feel. If you want to learn more about that topic you should also follow Rachel Cargle on Instagram or check out her website. A great book to read is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo which follows the lives of 12 principal characters, mostly black women, as they negotiate the world.