Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeOpinionEditorialStop Black Deaths in Custody

Stop Black Deaths in Custody

Each time I see BLM initials I think of the generations before us who have paved the path to freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement resonates with First Nations, bringing to light systemic racism, police and prison brutality.

The recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sent ripples of anguish throughout Aboriginal families recalling the death of David Dungay Jr. at Long Bay in 2015, who cried out repeatedly, “I can’t breathe”, as six burly correctional officers deprived him of oxygen.

Safe and peaceful rallies in June and July have coincided with other BLM protests around the world. Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Families have joined together to promote awareness of inequalities in the system and gain justice for their loved ones who have died in custody at the hands of both police and correctional officers.

The rally in the Domain on July 5 saw thousands gather, including representatives from School Strike 4 Climate, the Maritime and Construction Divisions of the CFMMEU. Protesters took part in a smoking ceremony and demanded an end to the genocide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through incarceration and deaths in custody.

Families paid tribute to their loved ones by retelling stories so others might understand the pain they suffer on a daily basis ­– why, why, why did they take away their child? This alone is a difficult task, retelling and reliving the chain of events which led to the death of Mother, Father, Son, Daughter without receiving answers or ever seeing a single conviction laid on the authorities.

Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Families deserve justice and are requesting that cases be reopened, including cold cases, with independent investigations into each.

People are encouraged to attend events in the coming weeks, and details can be found on the Indigenous Social Justice Association website.

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Faith Black is a First Nations woman and a descendant of the Batjala people, Fraser Island, and Meriam people of Merisle in the Torres Strait. She is a member of ISJA.

 

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