Black Lives movement hits home in our region
FROM the violent protests in Minnesota to the streets of the Rockhampton CBD, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained real traction through Central Queensland.
While social unrest in recent weeks has been ignited by the death of African-American man George Floyd at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer in the United States, it has struck a chord with many indigenous Australians, as 432 indigenous Australian men, women and youths have died in police custody since 1991.
Wulli Wulli woman Danielle Martin from Theodore said Australia was at a point now where a real difference could be made.
"There has been many Aboriginal deaths in custody and not everybody knows the ins and outs of those cases but it's a lot of deaths," Mrs Martin said.
"Its important to revisit those things because you can't push things under the rug like Australian history has done before.
"It's brought so much conversation and I hear people all the time talking about it so that's positive.
"Although you get negative feedback sometimes it's good to just get people talking."
Mrs Martin added the protests were a way to help achieve reconciliation, squash stereotypes and educate the Australian people on why such stereotypes exist.
"It's the way of giving the First Nations people a voice," Mrs Martin said.
"A lot of First Nations people are educated on the history of Australia and why all these stereotypes are around and a lot of other Australians aren't.
"It's changing that and doing this for equality for everybody all over Australia and across the world."
Gooreng Gooreng Wakka Wakka man Alwyn Doolan last Saturday he helped lead 300 people through the streets of Rockhampton in a peaceful protest, aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement and the high rate of Aboriginal deaths in police custody.
Asked to be a guest speaker for the Darumbal people and their elders, Mr Doolan said that march was all about putting forward solutions through the Black Lives Matter movement that are parallel to the Aboriginal deaths in custody here in Australia.
"It covers a whole range of the social economic disadvantages we still face, incarceration rates, employment, education, health, closing the gap, and debunking all these rumours about the benefits that we supposedly get," Mr Doolan said.
"Black Lives Matter is a global phenomenon and people are witnessing quite a hopeful change in the air not just in there nation, but across the world.
"People are rising to the system of racism that's been embedded in our society, the mental illness that's been inflicted by institution and government systems which our people have endured."
Mr Doolan said that First Nations People feel that are still in an oppression of colonial disposition in the community, highlighted by the rate of Aboriginal deaths in custody.
"The circumstances with George Floyd really elevated the discussion here of black deaths in custody more than ever in the last 30 years," Mr Doolan said.
"We are tallying that narrative and people are watching and we are letting them know this has happened here for 200 plus years and this is nothing new for us.
"There's a lot of history and acts that our people were under and the language used and what has been done, so people need to know this, and read and take it upon their own initiative to educate themselves."