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What We Can Do To Keep The Conversation Going Around Anti-Racism In Australia

What We Can Do To Keep The Conversation Going Around Anti-Racism In Australia

Credits are: Image posted with permission of @tamikasadler @benny_thomson by @brookeelizabeth.photography
Tamika and Benny own the clothing brand Take Pride Movement https://takepridemovement.com

The day after blackout Tuesday, the social media movement advocating for anti-racism, the hashtag #blackouttuesday had been used 28 million times, while the petition to achieve justice for George Floyd – the man whose state-sanctioned murder sparked the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement – had received only 13 million signatures [1]. This disparity signals society’s tendency towards online activism, and points towards a lack of action hiding behind proclamations of solidarity. While spreading awareness through social media can be productive, the overarching message coming from people of colour in response to the recent upsurge in social media support is that words need to be met with action, so we’ve compiled a few pointers to keep the conversation going once the social-media hype has hushed.

1. Educate yourself

With the recent resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, a spotlight has thankfully been shone on the books and resources which can teach us how racist structures manifest in our society, and what we can do about them. Look to books such as How to be an anti-racist, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race and Me And White Supermacy to educate yourself on this nuanced and complex issue.

2. Educate others

Educating ourselves about systematic structural oppression that people of colour face is a positive step, but educating people who hold racist beliefs can make an instant marked difference. If someone close to you holds regressive views, address the issue with them with compassion and kindness.

3. Support and promote people of colour

Consume books, art and music by people of colour not because they’re people of colour, but because you like what they do. And while you’re enjoying their creations, tell other people about them and help them be discovered by others.

 

4. Fight for Indigenous rights

We hear an acknowledgement of country at every public event we attend, but how often do we take time to really consider the reality of what it means. The chant shouted into the streets at the Black Lives Matter protest in June really hammered the message home for a lot of people: “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land,”. White people in Australia are living on stolen land, and it’s our duty to educate ourselves about the history and plight of our Indigenous community. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up around 2% of the Australian population, they constitute 27% of the national prison population [2] and the issue of Indigenous deaths in custody is still a shameful stain on Australia’s national identity [3]. Look for ways you can help in the fight for Indigenous rights through your work life (through pro-bono work or mentoring schemes for young Indigenous Australians) and your personal life (by engaging with and supporting Indigenous art and supporting Indigenous charities).

5. Vote to change the system

One tangible example of a structural disregard for Indigenous rights was seen when Jukan Gorge, a sacred Aboriginal site in Western Australia, was destroyed by mining group Rio Tinto [4]. Sadly for us and devastatingly for the community for whom this site was sacred, this can’t be undone, but by voting for political parties and individuals who oppose the mining industry, we can help prevent these kinds of atrocities happening in the future.

6. Sign petitions

The resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement at the beginning of June prompted people across Australia and the world to start petitions for positive social change. Adding your signature (and potentially a financial donation) to petitions you believe in can result in lasting and significant change. Along with the petitions calling for justice for the individuals who have suffered at the hands of state-sanctioned brutality (listed here), a number of global and national petitions have been started to prompt changes in the inherently racist structure of Western society. Community organisation Justice Action started a petition to Prevent deaths in custody caused by improper restraint, and petitions have been started in the US calling for mandatory anti-racist courses to be introduced in schools and universities. Take the time to sign and share petitions you believe in, and together we can work towards change.

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