The death of George Floyd has reignited furious protest in the United States in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. At home, a movement is growing to remind Australians of the struggles that First Nations communities have faced and continue to face.
As Guardian Australia has detailed, as of June 6 2020, 434 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have died in police custody since the end of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1991.
NME halted publication on June 2 as part of #TheShowMustBePaused, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. NME Australia is following up by sharing information on how readers can do their part for Indigenous communities.
We are following the example set by Australian artists and activists this week, who have organised and spoken up against the racist violence First Nations communities are subjected to in Australia. Just some of the artists who have been vocal include Yorta Yorta rapper Briggs, Arnhem Land’s Baker Boy and Kira Puru, who have compiled a list of ways to support Blak Australians here.
Below are details on relevant funds to donate to, protests to attend nationwide, legal and educational resources, and a list of Indigenous music labels and businesses. This is a rolling list, and NME Australia invites suggestions of further resources, labels or actions to support. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places to Donate:
David Dungay Jr., a Dunghutti man from Kempsey, NSW, died in custody in December 2015. He was surrounded by six guards as he screamed “I can’t breathe”. This fundraiser was created by his mother, Leetona Dungay, who is appealing to the Director of Public Prosecutions for the NSW Government to take responsibility for the death of her son. All proceeds raised will fund the ongoing expenses for her campaign.
19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker was shot dead by police in his Yuendumu home in November 2019. The Warlpiri people are asking for an independent inquiry into both the shooting and community policing. Dr. Lisa Watts has organised this fundraiser to pay for lawyers’ travel to Yuendumu in order to facilitate their request.
Tanya Day died in custody in December 2017, in a cell at the Castlemaine police station. This fundraiser, created by her daughter Apryl Day, will pay for legal proceedings, accommodation, travel and living expenses for Day’s extended family, allowing them to attend independent inquest hearings.
29-year-old Joyce Clarke was shot and killed by police in Geraldton last year in September. The first class constable charged with her murder recently entered a not guilty plea ahead of his trial later this year. This fundraiser was set up by Debbie Kilroy, Order of Australia recipient and one of the nation’s leading advocates for protecting women and children’s rights through decarceration. Funds will be donated entirely to Clarke’s family to allow them to travel to all court proceedings.
Pay The Rent – An ongoing campaign that encourages non-Indigenous people to donate a portion of their income for operating on unceded Indigenous land. All funds raised are given to Aboriginal people in Victoria at the discretion of a group of Aboriginal elders from multiple clans and nations.
The National Justice Project – A non-profit legal service that represents people who would otherwise be unable to find legal representation.
Barpirdhila Foundation’s First Nations Artists & Community COVID-19 Appeal – A community-run non-for-profit organisation raising money to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sisters Inside – A not-for-profit organisation that “advocates for the collective human rights of women and girls in prison, and their families”.
Free Her – Organised by Debbie Kilroy of Sisters Inside, this ongoing campaign uses collected funds to release Aboriginal women from prison or pay outstanding warrants.
Black Rainbow – A wholly Indigenous-owned not-for-profit social enterprise that advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI+ peoples.
Change The Record – Australia’s only national Aboriginal-led coalition of peak Aboriginal bodies and non-Indigenous allies.
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – A collective of Aboriginal youths advocating for decolonisation and the philosophies of Aboriginal nationalism.
Grandmothers Against Removals – A grassroots organisation led by Aboriginal grandmothers, campaigning against the systematic removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services’ GoFundMe campaign – NATSILS is fundraising to create a campaign to end Black deaths in custody that is led by the families left behind. Money raised will also support the families involved.
Tarndanyangga (Victoria Square), Saturday June 13, 12-2.30pm ACST – ‘Adelaide: Black Lives Matter – Keep up the fight against racism’, organised by the Adelaide Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and the Sosblakaustralia SA Action Group.
Parliament House, Saturday June 13, 10am ACST – ‘Solidarity for Aboriginal deaths in Custody and BLM‘, organised by BLK WMN 4 Justice.
Langley Park, Saturday June 13, 12pm AWST – ‘Black Lives Matter‘, organised by peaceful protesters and First Nation Elders.
Places to Volunteer:
- Yothu Yindi Foundation (Garma Festival)
- National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
Indigenous Legal Services:
- Victoria: Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
- NSW and ACT: Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
- Western Australia: Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited
- South Australia: Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
- Queensland: Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd
- Northern Territory: North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
Indigenous Music Labels and Businesses:
Bad Apples: An Indigenous-owned and -operated hip-hop record label, started by the rapper Briggs. Artists signed to Bad Apples include Alice Skye, Nooky, Birdz and Kobie Dee.
Caama Music: The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association is Australia’s leading Aboriginal-owned and-controlled media organisation. They work to provide specialist services and support the production of indigenous music, whether that be in recording studios, distribution or even AV hire.
Skinny Fish Music: This label works in partnership with Indigenous artists to produce their music, and then showcase it around the world, through recording, distribution, publishing and performance.
Supply Nation: A comprehensive database of verified Indigenous businesses.
‘‘Deaths in our backyard’: 432 Indigenous Australians have died in custody since 1991’ – Lorena Allam, Guardian Australia
‘We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country’ – Amy McQuire
‘Australia still turns a blind eye to Aboriginal people dying in police custody’ – Celeste Liddle, Guardian Australia
‘These Aboriginal Australians Want You To Consider “Paying The Rent” To Traditional Owners’ – Lane Sainty, BuzzFeed News Australia
Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians – R. Bruce Elder: A compilation of information about the massacres of Aboriginal people recorded in sourced books and journals. It is up to its third edition.
Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe: Argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag often used to describe pre-colonial Australia, by providing proof of pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and building construction by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia – Edited by Anita Heiss: An anthology of stories and experiences from Indigenous people around the country. Contributors include Adam Goodes, Tony Birch, Celeste Liddle and Miranda Tapsell.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge: Discusses the role that race and racism play in modern Britain, and creates a framework to recognise and counter racism. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Eddo-Lodge has asked people to match any purchases of the book with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
Talking To My Country – Stan Grant: A personal view on Indigenous race relations in Australia from the most prominent Aboriginal journalist in the country.
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates: A letter from Coates to his teenage son about the realities of being Black in the United States.
Archival Decolonist: A blog run by Nathan “Mudyi” Sentance that takes a critical look at how Indigenous cultures are portrayed in Australia’s galleries, libraries, museums and archives in order to reduce bias and misinterpretation.
IndigenousX: A media organisation founded in 2012 that platforms First Nations voices and wishes to “create a media landscape where Indigenous people can share their knowledge, opinions and experiences with a wide audience across the world”. It also runs a Twitter account that is guest-hosted by Indigenous people.