This week the world has reacted to the story of George Floyd, an African American man whose life was tragically taken at the hands of law enforcement. Public outrage has been wide-spread and the world is rallying in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a global organisation advocating for the elimination of government-supported violence in Black communities.i
Sadly, QAIHC and its Members experience the impact of institutional racism every day and are witness to the direct impact that systemic bias has on health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Floyd are all too familiar to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who have been speaking out against police brutality and deaths in custody since colonisation.
Behind every life taken is a broken-down family and a disrupted community clouded in anger, mistrust and confusion. The long-term health impacts after a death in custody or incident of police brutality are endless. They can include poor mental health, social and emotional distress, injury, harmful use of alcohol or other substances, self-harm, suicidality and exacerbated physical health conditions because of disengagement with the health system. The death of one can very quickly become the death of many.
In confronting the hard truths of the atrocities closer to home, we must remember the facts.
All Australians have a part to play in uncovering and eliminating the deeply entrenched racist views, perpetuating unfair stereotypes that are killing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In standing with us against racism, QAIHC urges you to:vi
QAIHC urges all Australians to use this tragic moment in history to create real and sustainable change in our own backyard. We must stand united against racist policies and deeply entrenched opinions perpetuating oppression. We all have a responsibility to ensure that no more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives are lost at the hands of those who are entrusted to protect us.
ii https://qpc.blob.core.windows.net/wordpress/2020/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-Imprisonment-.pdf page 400
iii https://qpc.blob.core.windows.net/wordpress/2020/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-Imprisonment-.pdf page 400
iv https://qpc.blob.core.windows.net/wordpress/2020/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-Imprisonment-.pdf page 400
v https://qpc.blob.core.windows.net/wordpress/2020/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-Imprisonment-.pdf page 2
vi Many useful suggestions can be found by following this list developed by Yawuru woman Shannon Dodson https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/p rograms/hack/here-are-10-positive-ways-to-engage-with-indigenous-issues/10885222
Emma Clarke Manager, Communication and Marketing
0418 982 095