5 June 2020
NSWALC Launches Online Campaign to Show Solidarity on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Plight
The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is encouraging every Australian to show their support for the 432 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children who have died in custody over the past 30 years, by joining in a consolidated national campaign tomorrow, Saturday June 6.
NSWALC is urging every Australian to stop for a minute’s silence on their driveways, verandas, or balconies at 4:32pm on Saturday afternoon, as a mark of respect for those 432 Australians.
It comes amid moves by the NSW Government to ban planned demonstration marches across the state due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. The Premier had not approached the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to consult on the action being taken.
After being a leader in the fight against the COVID-19 health crisis in Aboriginal communities over the past months and actively promoting the adherence to social distancing restrictions, NSWALC Chairperson Anne Dennis said while efforts to restrict planned demonstration rallies is disappointing, it is important people exercise personal responsibility.
“Every Australian has the right to responsibly demonstrate their concerns and have their voice heard in a peaceful and lawful manner. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the law is being enforced because of a health crisis, but our people have been dealing with this injustice for much longer than the Coronavirus has been around,” Cr Dennis said.
“Not being able to participate in demonstration marches does not in any way diminish or dilute the message we are all sending to authorities. For more than 30 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been unfairly treated in custody. Lives are being lost. No one should be in custody and lose their life, so why on earth are we sitting here today reflecting on 432 deaths in custody? That number is absurd and an indictment on Australian society.”
“Black Lives Matter. Aboriginal Lives Matter. We will continue to work with every parliamentarian to come up with solutions to stop this from continually happening. The reality is, enough is enough. The statistics are alarming and Aboriginal people have a right for their voices to be heard in the fight for equality.”
“We expect that our campaign sends a strong and powerful message to governments across the country, while showing responsible leadership in the ongoing fight against the current health pandemic.”
NSWALC encourages all Australians to post their videos and photos on social media, using the hashtags #FourThreeTwo and #432 at 4:32pm tomorrow, Saturday, June 6.