Updated on 5 Jun 2020. Posted on 3 Jun 2020
If you're Australian and you think we're 'lucky' not to have the same issues as the US, consider this.
While communities around the world are continuing to come together in grief and rage to protest against police brutality and racism, Australians are being asked to confront their own long and ongoing history of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
While we witness the outrage happening in the US, we can never forget the injustice of this nation that is also built on genocide and the disposition of Black bodies. It's always easier to look outside rather than our own backyard. https://t.co/QAt18HvuMV
Just last year, The Guardian published a database showing more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since the end of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1991.
While the name George Floyd is now well-known around the world, in Australia, the circumstances of his death are tragically similar to those surrounding the death of a young, Aboriginal man named David Dungay Junior.
Justice for David Dungay Jr- An Indigenous Australian man who died in police custody. His last words were also “I can’t breathe”. The inquest found that the officers were NOT guilty despite it being on video. Please donate and share his story. https://t.co/LT7rfOJqpK
In 2015, Dungay was 26 years old and just weeks away from being released from Long Bay Gaol, in New South Wales. He was eating biscuits in his cell, when prison staff ordered him to stop. When he refused, six guards moved him to another cell and held him down.
David Dungay Jr's Last words I can’t breathe please! Let me up! I cant breathe! I cant breathe! I cant breathe! I cant breathe, please don’t! Let me up, please! Help Please! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t! I can’t!
Dungay was held face-down and administered a sedative. In CCTV footage that was partially released to the public, Dungay said 12 times that he could not breathe, before he lost consciousness and died.
And in the wake of George Floyd's identical last words, Australians are being asked to look not at the US, but at the systemic racism and police brutality that occurs all too often on home soil.
It’s the SAME Story as #GeorgeFloyd but Different soil. Be out-ranged fellow Australians if you believe in #Humanity If you believe in #RECONCILIATION! Then help dismantle systemic #racism in this Country. 💔 R.I.P David Dungay Jr. ✊🏾well done @GeorgeNewhouse #naturaljustice https://t.co/JpQX23ag98
If you're angry about George Floyd, but you didn't show that same anger for Kumanjayi Walker, Joyce Clarke, David Dungay Jr, Tanya Day, Ms Dhu, or the countless other Aboriginal people killed by police or in police custody, ask yourself why.
@vaisiai don’t forget how Australians will do anything to ignore aboriginals dying in custody: DONT FORGET Tanya Day, David Dungay, Cherdeena Wynne, Kumanjayi Walker and David Dungay Jr. !!!
To fellow Australians, if police brutality and systematic racism doesn’t exist here, please explain why David Dungay Jr was suffocated to death by police officers, uttering the exact same words as George Floyd?
In Sydney/Cadi, this Saturday, June 6, a vigil will be held for George Floyd and David Dungay — and in memory of all Bla(c)k people who have died in police custody around the world.
David Dungay Jr is one name, but there are countless other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have died — and continue to die — at the hands of police brutality. If you're in Australia and want to support the Black Lives Matter movement, here are all the protests you can attend.
Peter Parks / Getty Images
If you are planning on joining the protests, the organisers ask that you wear masks, adhere to social distancing and keep things peaceful.