Thanks Kieran and Alice Springs News for your coverage of …

Comment on Black lives: generations pass; racism, custody deaths continue by Josh Davis.

Thanks Kieran and Alice Springs News for your coverage of this important event. It was a powerful reminder of the unique, cross cultural connection points Alice Springs has to offer those who are willing to engage positively with the different groups that make up the Alice Springs community.
It’s sad to see some of the comments on here clearly trying to discredit the event, which was clearly in solidarity with US protests happening as a result of the death of George Floyd.
The George Floyd story clearly resonate with so many in Central Australia given the history of police violence towards first nations people in Australia.
You have to be wilfully ignorant not to see the parallels between the police violence in the US and the treatment of Indigenous people at the hands of police and policy makers here in Australia.
I briefly attended the event with my wife and daughter and thought Kira’s speech was incredible.
Her bravery is in direct contrast to the cowardice of those who snipe at her from the anonymity of their online pseudonyms.
As mentioned in this article, Kira’s speech actually touched on the burden of standing up, mentioning the online vitriol heaped on Aboriginal kids, leaders and people on forums such as the Alice Springs Community Forum Facebook page.
There’s some prime examples of this negativity in the comments section below. I’ll be raising my daughter in Central Australia to admire the resilience, courage and determination of people like Kira Voller, and to recognise how cowardly it is to snipe from the anonymous cover of a pseudonym at people fighting for a better world for their children.
@ Surprised! What you seem to be missing in your interpretation of the facts is that Indigenous Australians only make up around 2% of Australia’s total population, so making up 20% of the deaths in custody is staggering.
The disproportionate incarceration rate equates to Indigenous Australians being around 15 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous Australians.
Also, the tired knee-jerk reaction to BLM in retorting that “all lives matter” completely misses the point. When people say “black lives matter” they are not saying only black lives matter or black lives matter more than other lives.
BLM is more about saying black lives matter too. Originating in the States, BLM is a pushback against those who have devalued black lives to the point that black people are at danger while jogging, or birdwatching, or sitting in their parked cars, or homes, or in mundane encounters with law enforcement that pose no threat to white people.
If you can’t see the parallels to what happens here in Australia, again, you are wilfully ignorant.
As pointed out in the comments below, the fact that there are Indigenous children as young as 10 being locked up, tear-gassed and tormented in the NT is another shameful failure in the long list of shameful failures in Australia’s relationship with Indigenous people.

Josh Davis Also Commented

Black lives: generations pass; racism, custody deaths continue
@ Wayne: I was referring to the 20% statistic mentioned in the comments section earlier which was written off as a small number, and the poster had asked the question, what am I missing?
You are right it is terrible, and I can understand your thoughts on the statistics.
However, one of the key findings of the Royal Commission was that Aboriginal people are more likely to die in custody because they are arrested and jailed at disproportionate rates.
Hearing the stories behind many of these deaths, it paints a disgusting pictures of police neglect, and a failure to stop preventable Indigenous deaths. The stories behind these deaths are harrowing.
@ Surprised! Just to clarify, Congress is not going to fix 288 years of trauma in one funding cycle. And the black deaths in custody which have people protesting are not caused by diabetes / renal failure if this is what you’re getting at?
But, yes, apologies for the confusion with my initial reply, it looks like I mixed up my statistics – response to the wrong anonymous pseudonym. @ Surprised1 and @ Confused? are two different people?
It’s hard to keep track of these pseudonyms.
You do seem quick to give the police a second chance, and not want to judge them as a whole based on the actions of the worst “bad eggs”. But you’re not so quick to apply that same forgiving logic to Indigenous Australians. Funny that.
RE: Indigenous Identified Positions: Honestly, if there are people living in Alice Springs who can’t understand white privilege in 2020, I’m probably not going to be able to help you much. Maybe try googling it, or getting someone you know to explain it to you?
You seem to like Netflix. There’s a whole bunch of shows on Netflix that can explain these issue – you can literally type ‘white privilege’ or ‘black lives matter’ into the Netflix search bar and it will give you hours of videos that will help you understand what these terms mean and their historical context.
I will watch Oranges and Sunshine, I’m a big Emily Watson fan.
As great as Netflix is, if you really want to actively engage in the solution to these issues, events like Saturday’s protest offer the opportunity to directly engage with Indigenous leaders present and emerging with lived experience of the disadvantage faced by Indigenous people in Australia.
That’s mainly why I originally posted as I was so moved by Kirra’s speech and her bravery in explaining publicly her fears for her own children.
I have my own fears, as we all do, but as a non-Indigenous person living in Alice Springs I don’t have to worry about the same things Indigenous people worry about. I don’t have to worry about the same things Kirra worries about. This is white privilege.
In Alice Springs there are unique opportunities to hear these stories first hand. It’s much more productive than sharing Netflix recommendations.
We live in a town that suffers the consequence of generations of prescriptive government interventions being inflicted on Indigenous Australians. How much evidence do you need that this approach doesn’t work?
Also, @surprised! I’m not sure how you’ve made the jump from the protests to “nobody cares about people dying from starvation”? I’ve heard someone trying to explain the hypocrisy of this style of argument by likening it to attending a cancer benefit and screaming at the fundraisers for not caring about AIDS funding. This clearly would not happen, but is a popular “all lives matter” approach to discrediting BLM.
Anyway, I’m sure you mean well. We’d probably get on if we met in person.
We definitely don’t share the same opinions, but we do live in the same town.
You’ve got to love Alice Springs, the diversity of people, opinions, and approaches to the same issues. We could probably both agree on at least one thing: It’s never dull here.


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Large number of cars vandalised at Araluen
I had my car smashed at Araluen last night – which was frustrating – but in the broader picture, I believe incidents like this one are a symptom of an unwell, unbalanced community.
Vandalism like this is symptomatic of a deeper problem. The knee jerk reaction is to get angry at the kids, blame the parents, or just rant on the community forum – but I think getting angry at these kids will be about as useful as yelling at someone for having the flu, and about as effective a cure.
I believe this sort of vandalism happens when kids feel disconnected from their community.
I do agree that these kids need to be disciplined – but in equal measure there needs to be efforts made to re-connect these kids to the Alice Springs community – otherwise it’s a band-aid approach that does nothing to fix the root cause of incidents like this one, which is the typical ambulance at the bottom of the cliff scenario.
In 2014 the Alice Springs Youth Hub was defunded by the Giles government who stated that “property crime is as low as it ever has been … the town’s completely cleaned up.
“There’s always an element of crime but compared to what it used to be … the town has completely changed.”
In my opinion incidents like last night are a direct result of short-sighted thinking such as the decision to defund the Youth Hub. Four years later we’re reaping the fruit of funding cuts to youth services and everyone’s looking around for someone to blame.
A long view approach must be taken to support youth services so that programs like the Youth Bus and the Youth Hub can secure stable connections with kids in town like those who were responsible for the vandalism at Araluen last night.
Connecting these kids back into the community, and showing them there is a place for them in Alice Springs where they are welcome, will go a long way to fix these issues. Heaping endless vitriol on these kids and continuing the divisive us/them politics of the situation just drives the parties further apart.
There is already a huge social and economic divide in Alice Springs, which could be argued is clearly represented by the people inside and outside the cinema at last night’s event.
As frustrating as a broken window, and some spray paint can be, I don’t think any of the victims of the vandalism would be rushing to swap lives with the kids who went on the smashing spree.
I feel sorry for these kids.


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