14 July 2020
By Shaye Windsor, Volunteer Journalist
Last weekend Black Lives Matter demonstrations continued across Australia with one clear message – the fight for justice is only just getting started.
In Brisbane the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance appealed for national drive to continue.
Brisbane’s* event came after protesters marched in Kempsey, the hometown of Dunghutti man David Dungay Jr. who was killed in police custody.
The National Justice Project assisted in the organisation of the Sydney** protests and represents First Nations peoples against police brutality.
This includes working for the family of David Dungay Jr. in the inquest into his death.
The Sydney protest was led by Leetona Dungay, David Dungay’s mother. Leetona spoke about her fight for justice to bring the system that caused the death of her son to account.
This call for justice was echoed at demonstrations around the country. Many people are asking the same question as Leetona Dungay – how can so many Indigenous people (over 400 in the last 29 years) die in custody and nobody ever seems to be held to account?
Further demands in Brisbane included calling on the Queensland government to dismantle and abolish the police, enact complete and culturally appropriate systematic change, anti-racist training at all levels of education, and the charging of all officers involved in black deaths in custody.
Garrwa and Butchulla organiser Fred Leone spoke about the over-representation of First Nations peoples in police custody and the internal police investigations that follow Aboriginal deaths in custody.
“That’s code. Code for, our police have a racist disposition for Aboriginal people in this country,” he said.
“We want Bla(c)k academics. Bla(c)k legal services. All our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers and barristers step up. No more police investigating police,” he said.
Organiser and Elder Wayne Wharton called on the public to directly support the independent legal teams helping families of those who have died in custody.
“They need the money; they don’t need another gatekeeper. Support the families…look at where you put your energy, direct it in the right places,” he said.
“It’s about time you’ve come to the table, there’s always been a place for you at this table,” he told the crowd.
“You call this place home. You are responsible for this place as well. If you’re not a part of this solution, you are complacent in the crime. No one is innocent,” Wayne Wharton said.
* Meanjin is the First Nations peoples’ name for Brisbane
**Warrang is the First Nations peoples’ name for Sydney