Three in every four Australians hold a negative view about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, according to stark new research this week.
As ANU researcher Siddharth Shirodkar explained, these views can lead to widespread racism.
This study presents stark evidence of the solid invisible barrier that Indigenous people face in society. But the data is actually not about Indigenous Australians, it’s about the rest of us.
Yet while many Australians hold such negative views, many know very little about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.
Don’t speak over us, or for us
For a long time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been calling for non-Indigenous people to listen to what we are saying and not speak over us, or for us. One great way to do that is via Twitter.
There are growing networks of Indigenous people online who are exerting significant influence on society here in Australia and worldwide.
This was made evident in the recent Black Lives Matter protests across Australia, where Indigenous people used social media to bypass traditional news organisations, demanding to be heard.
But more work must be done.
As activist Lynda-June Coe wrote this week:
the energy and power of huge crowds marching the streets … must be maintained if we are to impact societal change through an attitudinal shift.
Support Indigenous people by retweeting, listening
Social media has the potential to amplify Indigenous voices and provide many sources of information for non-Indigenous people to learn more about Indigenous people, histories and cultures.
Part of this work is for non-Indigenous people to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and support them by retweeting their posts and educating themselves on the issues.
Twitter in particular can be used as a forum for inquiry, curiosity, and political teaching and learning.
One example of this is IndigenousX, which provides a space to amplify diverse Indigenous voices. It was created in 2012 by Gamilaroi man, Luke Pearson, and features a rotating series of hosts.
Wakka Wakka woman, activist and student Bizzi Lavelle is the current host.
It’s no secret that the past few weeks have been really rough. Sometimes just existing while black is rough. So I wanna talk about self care. What have you been doing to take care of yourself in this time?— Bizzi Lavelle (@IndigenousX) June 11, 2020
Below are nine other people and organisations worth following. Of course, there are many more you should follow than are listed in this article.
Lynda-June Coe @LyndaJune1
Coe just finished a stint as an IndigenousX host. She is a Wiradjuri and Badu Island woman, PhD candidate, cultural educator and activist. She is one of the many young, powerful Aboriginal women activists demanding justice and rights for Aboriginal peoples.
“When women stand against systems of oppression. We create movements.” – Sunrise Protest, Channel 7 Studios Martin Place Sydney. pic.twitter.com/PcwlmBq06A— Lynda-June Coe (@LyndaJune1) June 10, 2020
Dr Debbie Bargallie @debbiebargallie
Her research on racism in the Australian public service has just been published in a book. She is one of only a few Indigenous race scholars in Australia.
This! ‘There cannot be 432 victims and no perpetrators…’ https://t.co/OcDJF5CLZJ— Dr Debbie Bargallie (@debbiebargallie) June 6, 2020
Nessa Turnbull-Roberts @TurnbullVanessa
Nessa is a Bundjalung writer and activist and winner of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2019 Young People’s Human Rights Medal. She is a law and social work student, who has dedicated her life to fighting against the injustices that disproportionately affect Indigenous peoples.
Today – 3pm Gadigal country (Sydney) Town Hall— Nessa Turnbull-Roberts (@TurnbullVanessa) June 6, 2020
Will you show up for black lives and lands? Will you be on the right side of justice and history?
People love and people power.
We stand strong, we share love and we show up.
See you there??
Hayden Moon @hayden_seek94
Hayden is a Wiradjuri Brotherboy and activist, who advocates for Indigenous LBGTQI+ peoples and those with disabilities. They promoted online access so people with disabilities could participate in last week’s rallies.
What an incredible turn out! Thank you to everyone who attended in person & to those who, like me, attended online.#blacklivesmatteraustralia— Hayden Moon (he & they) (@hayden_seek94) June 6, 2020
I couldn’t be at the rally today due to disability. But I attended online and I was blown away by the support I saw! ?????? pic.twitter.com/jkgHt6pdfQ
Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands @NACCHOAustralia
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation is Australia’s peak body for Aboriginal health. They use social media to be in touch with Indigenous people across Australia and provide up-to-date health information and news of importance to us, including safe practices when joining protests marches during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care @SNAICC
The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) is the national peak body representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. SNAICC is a non?government, not for profit organisation, governed by a national executive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, drawn from members in the early childhood education and family support sectors.
@SNAICC is endeavouring to support our member organisations as much as possible during the pandemic and make sure your voices are heard. Alongside sector engagement, we’ve continued to update our list of online resources we hope can be of help: https://t.co/cIM1MPVX0V— SNAICC (@SNAICC) May 14, 2020
Celeste Liddle @Utopiana
Celeste is a Arrernte woman, feminist, union organiser and writer. She has a column in Eureka Street.
It appears that I forgot to actually share my own article. Posting purely so I can pin it:https://t.co/zhu0MjIIGL— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) June 4, 2020
Amy McQuire @amymcquire
Amy is a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman from Rockhampton. She is a PhD candidate at Queensland University and journalist. She has 13 years experience in the Indigenous media sector and was a reporter for Buzzfeed. She has also written for The Saturday Paper, The Guardian and The New York Times.
Amy is also the co-host of an investigative podcast called Curtain – centred around the wrongful conviction of an Aboriginal man.
The latest ep of @CurtainPodcast is now out and we have some exciting news to share…. after 29 years of false imprisonment, Kevin Henry aka kurtain was finally released on parole. We are finally able to announce it https://t.co/oHIRWNyO48 pic.twitter.com/1e6YyvAYOu— Amy McQuire (@amymcquire) April 17, 2020
Dr Sandy O’Sullivan @sandyosullivan
Dr Sandy O’Sullivan is a Wiradjuri academic. They are an associate professor in creative industries at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Sandy’s research focus is on empowering and engaging national and international First Nations’ Communities. And includes queer studies, art and music.
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Cover image by James Gourley/ AAP.