The brutal death of George Floyd has had a profound effect on millions of people across the globe, and has given momentum to the global Black Lives Matter movement, bringing issues of racialised inequality, privilege and white supremacy into the public eye. Global street protests follow the decades of agitation and work from predecessors who laid the foundations for the Black civil rights movement.
Time and again, it has been acknowledged that the main reason for this large number of deaths is the over-incarceration of Australia’s First Nations people. Indigenous people are twice as likely to be imprisoned as they were during the Royal Commission, and there are now five times as many Indigenous people in prison. Indigenous Australians have become the world’s most incarcerated peoples, per capita.
The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the need for great change across all sections of society, including the creative sector. This is a time for arts organisations and creatives to reflect on the work we do, and whether or not it foregrounds Indigenous rights, stories, histories and perspectives, or whether it erases or appropriates Indigenous voices.
Diversity Arts is Australia’s national voice for culturally diverse, people of colour and migrant racial equity in the creative sectors. We acknowledge that discussions around racial equity and injustices have to consider how migrants in this country, a colonial-settler state, benefit from the colonisation of this land and the dispossession of First Nations peoples.
In Diversity Arts’ racial equity work we are guided and strengthened by the leadership of Indigenous activists, thinkers, artists and educators. We are grateful to the generations of First Nations activists who have contributed their labour, knowledge and resources to the work of anti-racism, often without compensation or recognition, and at times, whose work is erased from history despite the achievements of their agitation for justice.
Diversity Arts Australia stands in solidarity with the Black Deaths in Custody movement here in Australia, and the Black Lives Matter and Native Lives Matter movements globally.
Diversity Arts calls on our supporters and other creative sector organisations and artists to use their collective platforms to advocate and work for racial justice.
Racism in Australia will not end unless we all take action to change the systems that uphold it.
Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.