From marriage equality to gender equality we’ve stood in solidarity and added our voice to support those who needed to be heard. Diversity is built into our DNA, with half our team being women and two thirds being POC.
Yet we’ve been uncharacteristically silent on the events sparked by the death of George Floyd so far. It’s not from a lack of caring, but from an overabundance of ignorance.
We’ve been watching in horror, like everyone else, at this latest example of racial injustice that dates back centuries.
What’s much harder is to shake ourselves out of complacency to truly hear what the Black Lives Matter movement is saying, and most importantly, take meaningful action.
It’s easy for us to dismiss it as an issue that’s happening on the other side of the planet. It’s easy for us to dismiss it as someone else's problem, and that it’s not something we have a part in. What’s much harder is to shake ourselves out of complacency to truly hear what the Black Lives Matter movement is saying, and most importantly, take meaningful action.
We’re not race relations experts here at Citizen Wolf, and won’t pretend we have the answers. But we do know that the first step to progress is to recognise and acknowledge the problem.
So the last week or so for us has been about learning, listening and reflecting.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNT
We’ve learnt that it’s not an overseas issue. Despite our Prime Minister saying that “there's no need to import things happening in other countries here to Australia", when Indigenous Australians make up 2% of our population yet 28% of the inmate population, we have to acknowledge the problem is homegrown.
We’ve learnt that many of the recommendations given by the 1987 Royal Commission investigating deaths of Indigenous people in police custody were never implemented. We've learnt that a further 407 Indigenous deaths in police custody have been reported since that day.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We’ve learnt that by staying silent and taking no action, we’re guilty of being the problem and perpetuating it. As Martin Luther King Jr observed, it’s not the words of the enemy that are remembered, but the silence of our friends.
But we’ve also learnt that there are actions we can, and must take.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
It’s time to break our silence - not for you to hear what we have to say, but to encourage you to listen to those far more qualified to speak with authority on the issue.
We’d like to amplify the voice of Tabitha Lean, an Indigenous woman, who has put together a comprehensive list of all the things you can do to support our Indigenous population.
It's difficult to take action when you don't see the issues, so we encourage you to follow people like Celeste Liddle on Twitter, National Indigenous Television on Instagram (and of course watch their programs), and FNDICWC Inc. on Twitter who are fighting to implement the Royal Commission recommendations.
There are also vigils and protests happening in your city. We will be attending these events and we encourage everyone else to as well.
We’ll be donating to ANTaR to support their advocacy efforts for the rights of Indigenous communities, as well as Gawura, a primary school specifically established to increase academic opportunities for Indigenous children.
Sign petitions, because it helps. Attend protests, because it helps. And if you are in a position to do so, please donate to one of the charities outlined by Tabitha, because it helps.
The team at Citizen Wolf will personally be doing all of these things. Individually, each action may only move a tiny pebble, but collectively, we can move mountains.
Resources we have found useful to read/watch and learn from, as well as petitions to sign and organisations to support.
The Healing Centre - providing mental health services to Indigenous Australians
The 147 dead: terrible toll of Indigenous deaths in custody spurs calls for reform