Australian artists decry racism against First Nations communities in light of George Floyd protests

"Like America, Australia was founded on white supremacy"

As protests against the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police continue in the US, multiple Australian artists have shared statements and resources in solidarity with First Nations communities in the hopes of reminding Australians about the injustices that continue to take place back home.

As Guardian Australia extensively detailed in 2019, more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have died in police custody since the end of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1991.

In a statement on Twitter, rapper Briggs, a Yorta Yorta man, expressed his solidarity with the US protestors.

“I empathise with the protestors because, like America, Australia was founded on white supremacy, and built its wealth on the murder, rape and slavery of its Indigenous people,” he said.

“Australia parades this idea of ‘The Lucky Country’; but their luck is our dispossession. Their luck is our death. Their luck is our trauma. Their luck is our grief.”

On Instagram, DJ Soju Gang has posted multiple statements pointing out that Australians should express the same degree of concern about the injustice levelled against Indigenous communities as they do about Black communities overseas.

“If you’re for black rights this passionately you should have the same energy for the Indigenous people dying at the mercy of a country that still commits multiple forms of genocide upon us,” one post reads.

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(edit: pls check out my latest post; if u have the time to like and share this post u should give the @justicefortanyaday page a follow and go thru the content. She is but 1 victim of police brutality, racism and injustice, where you should use her story as a catalyst to research more about the blak lives lost in this country to a justice system that wants to kill us. Thanks) 〰️〰️〰️ This is in no way saying “what about us” or that you should be shifting your energy. This is only saying have the same energy to expect justice and equity across all oppressed minorities. The black community in America is very lucky to have their issues be continuously promoted centre stage on an international scale – we all mourn our brothers and sisters there who’s lives have been brutally taken from them. But as amazing it’s been seeing so many people in Australia use their platforms and voices to aid to their cause; it’s disheartening that the same people, the same media outlets, and the same coverage isn’t given to the Indigenous people of this land. You will remember the name of George Floyd. But may have never even heard of Tanya Day, Raymond Thomas, TJ Hickey, or Veronica Marie Nelson Walker. Everyday we suffer under the gauntlet of a corrupt government here, and many of us have lost loved ones to the brutality of its justice system. For deaths in custody of blak bodies, we have had zero convictions. And it was only last year, that the horrible killing of young boy Kumanjayi Walker – a young boy shot multiple times by police as he slept in his bed after their community buried an elder, dragged to a police van, where his body was taken to be held overnight in a police station with no medical aid as his mob banged on doors to see their kid, it was ONLY last year an office was merely charged. An officer who still hasn’t faced court as of yet. Mourn for George Floyd. Fight for his right to never have been taken in the first place. Fight for persecution of his murderer; along with the many many others who have faced the same fate he did. Fight for a change to a justice system that criminalises black people existing. Just don’t stop that fight when it’s one of us.

A post shared by SOJU (@soju_gang) on

Non-Indigenous artists, like Sampa The Great, Kira Puru, Ruel, G Flip, Jack River and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have shared the statements of their own or retweeted the words of others.

“We are beneficiaries of the same systemic racism that lets people of colour die at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them. Not just in America, but in our own backyard, where First Nations people continue to die in police custody and suffer the highest rates of incarceration in the world,” said Rolling Blackouts C.F.

Banoffee, Montaigne, Cub Sport, Alison Wonderland, Alex Lahey and Trophy Eyes have posted links to fundraisers for overseas Black Live Matter movements, the ongoing FreeHer campaign for Aboriginal women who can’t pay fines, the Aboriginal Legal Service and the GoFundMe in support of Leetona Dungay, an Aboriginal woman whose son, David Dungay, died in police custody in 2015.

On Twitter, Camp Cope’s Sarah Thompson criticised the move by music labels to take part in a social media ‘blackout’, calling it a “fucking cop out”.

“This music industry black out thing feels like a fucking cop out. How about all the labels & streaming platforms that rob artists each & every day start donating the money they’ve stolen to black charities and bail bonds instead,” Thompson wrote.

“#BlackLivesMatter – the music industry doesn’t.”

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