The following is a guest post from Susan Moylan-Coombs, Founding Director, The Gaimaragal Group.
As the world grapples with protests globally, sparked by Mr Floyd’s murder in the United States, First Nations people here rise in solidarity. We understand.
The shocking footage of a police officer misusing his power and authority, deaf to Mr Floyd’s plea for life, “I can’t breath”, was traumatic to listen to and watch. People know it’s wrong when a system, through all its checks and balances, results in the taking of human life by humans in uniform – those who are employed to protect and service.
In Australia some like to think of us as the lucky country, the land of the young and free. So “young” that Australians don’t understand the hypocrisy in their actions. First Nations voices have and continue to plead. It is happening in your own backyard. Raise your voice for us here with understanding of that which seems to have been so easy to dismiss, leaving us in the blind spot and avoiding the unfinished business, leaving it incomplete. March with us; activate the same internal energy and protest peacefully to right the wrongs in Australia.
We are all connected, you are us and we are you. We are all humans, right? We proudly sing…I am, You Are, We are Australians. That notion is complex and remains traumatising for some when we, as the original people of this land, still experience the racism, the discrimination, trauma and deaths, which keep repeating on a loop like a broken record.
We must stand up with understanding if we are to transform the justice system here in Australia to be more just; otherwise in the words of my grandfather,
Dr H.C. Nugget Coombs, “we are all diminished as a nation”.
The questions that remain are; Is Australia mature enough and does Australia have the will to change our current state of affairs? Will this country own its racist behaviours toward First Nations Peoples, and other culturally diverse communities? Will the Australian Government balance the books and reconcile our shared history through the telling of truth in how the colonisers moved in without permission, stole, killed and created laws over and above the Lore of this land? Would any of this stand up in law in an international court? What is the point of having Declarations of Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous People?
I want to believe people are intelligent. It should not be incumbent upon the victims to inform those of privilege with what to do. You already know what to do – the death of Mr Floyd proved that. Humans are waking up and technology means the death of one man can ignite a global movement.
About the expert
Gaimaragal Group is a First Nations organisation established to lead social change, create social impact by bringing together like minds and like spirits. We believe that the philosophies and teachings of First Nations Peoples, the way of life that has sustained us for tens of thousands of years, is worth sharing, and in doing so, create a new story of connection and wellbeing for all Australians.
Susan Moylan-Coombs, Woolwonga Gurindji, NT, was taken at birth from her mother and father, who were also removed as part of a government policy; these children are today known as the Stolen Generations.
Susan uses her expertise working with mainstream organisations, communities in the area of cultural competency, community development, empowerment and social planning. A founding board member PTSD Australia New Zealand (Fearless Outreach) member of many community committees in the Northern Sydney Region and Board member, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.
Image description: Image of a photo of Susan blended with Indigenous artwork in brown, red, black, white and yellow. Susan has long hair and looks to the side.