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Saturday, 6th June, 2020

Taunoa Bugmy and Cory Paulson ahead of today’s Black Lives Matter gathering. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Taunoa Bugmy and Cory Paulson ahead of today’s Black Lives Matter gathering. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Two local Aboriginal community members have organised a Black Lives Matter gathering to give the community a chance to have a much-needed conversation. 

Cory Paulson and Taunoa Bugmy have arranged the Black Lives Matter event in Sturt Park from 10am today. The gathering is for the community, which will see local activist speakers share their stories and voice their grief. 

Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement, originating in the African American community.

Marches and protests have been taking place across the world to campaign against violence and systematic racism towards black people and in support of George Floyd, an African American man killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. 

Aboriginal Australians can relate to African Americans’ fight for social justice. There have been 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since 1991, with no convictions. Aboriginal Australians are the most incarcerated people in the world, with a much higher rate of imprisonment than that of African Americans.

In 2019, for every 100,000 First Nations adults, 2481 are in prisons, compared with 164 non-indigenous Australians, First Nations Australians are 28 per cent of the prison population.

For Aboriginal Australian women, the rate of incarceration is 33 per cent and they are 21 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aboriginal Australian women. 

When it comes to young people, Aboriginal Australian children comprise 54 per cent of the population in juvenile detention centres across the country. Aboriginal Australian children are 26 times more likely than non-Aboriginal Australian kids to be in detention. 

All of these statistics need to be considered with this in mind - Aboriginal Australians represent about three per cent of the Australian population.

Cory Paulson said the aim of the gathering is to raise awareness of Black Lives Matter in regards to Aboriginal people’s perspective within the collective community.

“It’s essentially getting a range of community members to attend in Sturt Park in order for us to show support for what’s happening not only here in Australia but also globally,” Cory said.

“We’re experiencing a time of upheaval around the killing of a man and we’re seeing riots from it, but that is not the aim of what we’re trying to do here locally in Broken Hill or in Australia I don’t think,” said Cory.

“We are a peaceful race, it’s within our values, our core, and if we’re not included in Australia’s conversation, that’s when we start seeing the closing of the gap widen.

“The deaths in custody still remain at 432, the statistics are telling us that there is something wrong and this is what the march is about, drawing the attention of the community to these issues that are plaguing us as a nation, and also the local perspective on how it’s affecting our Aboriginal community in Broken Hill.

“I think the best thing that we could see from our community is just standing and listening, because that’s all we’re asking for is to be heard and listen with no judgement, no expectation of an outcome for us, we just need you to hear our stories.

“All we need is your support.

“We’re just raising awareness in order for us to move forward positively as a collective, Broken Hill as a community and show the state of NSW that we’re working on this together and then it can’t help but radiate.”

Taunoa Bugmy said the Sturt Park event would give the community a chance to have a voice, a conversation and a right to express their grief in a peaceful gathering.

“Sharing Stories are what our people do well and our people want to share them, not to point fingers or blame, or create division, we instead intend on educating and enlightening with understanding of our people’s social injustices.”

In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers respectfully request for those attending to follow safe social distancing measures and not gather in groups of ten or more. 

 

WHAT: Black Lives Matter Gathering

WHEN: Today, 10am

WHERE: Sturt Park

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