Aboriginal affairs

Perth protesting for justice

As all 50 of the United States protest police brutality towards African Americans, many people in Perth are banding together to call for similar change.

On June 1, around 2000 people rallied in Perth’s CBD, protesting the deaths of Indigenous people in police custody which have gone unanswered.

Now, two more rallies in Perth have been organised in its wake, one on June 9 protesting the destruction of sacred Aboriginal lands, and another on June 13, a rally for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Only 3 percent of Australia’s population are Indigenous, but they make up 29 percent of the prison population. Source: Australian Institute of Criminology.

The rallies are also in support of preserving sacred lands after mining giant Rio Tinto accidentally blew up two 46,000-year-old sites for iron ore mining in the Pilbara region last week.

Jacinta Taylor, the daughter of Indigenous activist and Noongar elder Uncle Ben Taylor, has been heavily involved in the organisation of the June 13 rally.

Since the event page was made on Facebook on June 1, more than 3600 people have announced their intention to attend, with another 10,000 expressing interest.

For Jacinta, who has been fighting for Indigenous rights her entire life, the support shown for the movement has been overwhelming.

“I think it just shows how much this resonates with people around the world,” she says.

“This injustice isn’t just happening in America, it isn’t just happening in Australia, it’s systematic and it’s happening everywhere.”

Supporting local communities is the next step for rally supporters. Audio: Tim Maslin-Davies.

Her father Uncle Ben Taylor is throwing his support behind his daughter’s efforts and the two upcoming rallies.

Awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2013 for his continual support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, Taylor has held more than a dozen roles across different organisations to support his community over the years.

With days still left before the first of the two rallies on June 9, Taylor is calling on the general public to join the forces moving for change.

“I would like more of my people to come along and stand up, stand with us, and I want the placards to come out,” he says.

“Your time has come now, and we have a voice.”

Born in 1938, Ben Taylor says it’s up to the young generations to continue the fight. Image: Supplied.

The rallies have been drawing in a large number of young people, with many going for the first time.

Rebecca Ramsay, a 20-year-old Murdoch University student, will be attending the June 9 rally in protest against the destruction of sacred Aboriginal lands.

Motivated by the protests in America and the protest in Perth on Monday, Miss Ramsay says this rally will be her first such event.

“We need to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people of our country,” she says.

“It’s gotten to a point now where we all need to act and speak up, and while I’ll never be able to fully comprehend what has happened in the past, I want to do whatever I can to help.”

If you wish to support the rallies, their Facebook pages can be found here:

Rally against the Destruction of Aboriginal Lands

The Black Lives Matter Movement