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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

SILENCE IS CONSENT

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic I wrote about disruption in my article Awareness – Change Occurs Through Shocks, suggesting crisis ‘shocks’ us out of our usual patterns, and simultaneously presents us with an invitation to transform.

In the wake of the protests erupting around the world, what I had planned to publish today now seems frivolous. I am horrified and deeply saddened, and whilst not one to usually speak on such topics or use my blog as a political platform, I am passionate about movements and helping people to influence change. Recent tragic events in the United States have merely picked the scab off a heritage deeply rooted in slavery, and generations of unresolved hatred towards communities of colour and other vulnerable groups. Irrespective of how uncomfortable talking about existential threats makes you feel, we need to start taking action, because turning a blind eye to racism makes us perpetrators by proxy.

I read a very powerful quote a few days ago: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” and it got me thinking…

Is Australia really any different to America? Let me be clear, I was unsure until I realised NOT knowing the answer to this was wrong. How could I feel outrage at what is happening in America yet be unsure about the current severity of racism right on my own doorstep. The sheer fact that I did not know meant that I needed to find out. What I learnt in one evening opened my eyes enormously. As of today, 425 deaths of aboriginal brothers and sisters in custody have been reported. More than 40,000 indigenous children have been forcibly removed to foster care. Notwithstanding, Australia has the highest incarceration rates of indigenous people in the world, and highest suicide rates. And this is only scratching the surface of the magnitude of the problem.

“You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be” – Michelle Obama

Whilst it may feel as though the world is already going through so many changes with the emergence of Covid-19, there is more to come and this battle, the war on racism, started decades ago. It is time to decide whether you will be on the side that supports the injustice that has and is happening against people of colour, or stop being silent and use your voice to influence change.

If you feel uncertain as to what you can do to support this movement, there are many ways you can help.

1. Educate yourself: Research what you hear using unbiased source material.

2. Sign petitions and write letters to government organisations, advocate for them to implement change that supports people of colour.

3. Listen: to the voices of the oppressed and recognise that they are the only ones who are truly able to speak about their experiences.

4. Donate: give money to organisations that make a difference.

5. Use your voice: have conversations with friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues about racial bias and call people out on their behaviour; educate them about why it is not okay.

6. Speak up: use your social media platforms to raise awareness and show solidarity with people of colour.

Until next time,

Stephen

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We support, encourage and respect diversity and equality.

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