As I go through the social media, I am inundated with photographs from the US of the horrific shootings of Black people and the sniper attack against the police. I also know why the# Black Lives Matter became a big thing. What I don’t understand is the #Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the world. Yes I believe in showing support for my fellow man when treated badly. I want to know where is the #Red Lives Matter. More Aboriginal Americans have been killed by police or in police custody, but that has been ignored.
There will be a rally or two here in Australia for BLM. That is great, as long as it includes Aboriginal Lives. I see on social media people posting about Ms Bland, a year since she died in custody. At the same time myself and my fellow Indigenous people have been tweeting about a Royal Commission into the death of Ms Dhu at the hands of police a year ago. I see no difference. If Black Lives Matter it must include all shades of brown and red. If a rally is to be held in Australia, let it show the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We suffer from high death rates at the hands of authority; don’t overlook us because we don’t have Beyonce, Niki Minaj or Alicia Keys.
We need to have Australia recognise and genuinely look at the issues we face, instead of always telling us how lucky we are, and to face up to the true history or this nation, a history or rape, forced removals, Stolen Generations, massacres, denial of human rights and of course high incarceration rates.
Australia had a Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody, from 1987 to 1991. The conclusion was too many Aboriginal people are in custody too often. In its report the commission made 339 recommendations. Aboriginal people still despair that most of these recommendations have not been carried out.
The Royal Commission examined the deaths of 99 people who had died in custody between 1 January 1980 and 31 May 1989. It looked into both the causes of the deaths and the prevention of future deaths and tried to answer the question: Why are so many Indigenous people in custody? Why were they treated that way?
The Commission’s findings were:
Aboriginal people do not die at a higher rate than non-Aboriginal people in custody.
The rate at which Aboriginal people are taken into custody is overwhelmingly different.
Investigating the deaths in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania the commission found that 13 of the 18 deaths in custody may have remained alive had custodial authorities not been negligent, uncaring or had followed procedures adequately. The other 5 deaths might also have been avoidable on the grounds that these people may not have needed to be in custody at all .
So with all of this, we should be the ones that BLM focuses on, not just being a tag along. I have asked on social media if we are included in the BLM rally and have been told by some that we are welcome to join in. Welcome to join in? But aren’t our Black Lives something to care about? I have also yet again copped a bit of hate from those who are telling me on social media that it’s not about us, but the crimes against American Black people. I have been informed on how hard they have it. Again I should just be silent and watch my people die.
If BLM is really something that you care about, please sign the petition for an inquiry into the suicide of Ms Dhu.