By Genevieve Whitford If you ever asked me – I would say unbudgingly that Australia is one of the most hypercritical countries to exist. Recently, leaked footage of the murder of an American black man became viral online, which depicted him being suffocated by a white policeman. This footage generated the Black Lives Matter protests […]
At UN Youth we ask young Australians to critically engage with global issues, and think about how they themselves can be a part of solutions. In this period of time, we have watched as the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired a global response to institutionalised racism, both abroad and at home. We would like to acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement and affirm that its mission is one that aligns deeply with that of UN Youth Australia, because:
Racism is abhorrent.
Police brutality is abhorrent.
The deaths of 437+ Indigenous people in custody since 1991 is abhorrent.
We have been inspired as many of our members and the young people we engage with are already leading conversations and driving change, and we as an organisation, support them. We have been asking ourselves – how can we best listen, learn and be part of the solution? We understand the challenges involved in representing the diverse range of issues important to young Australians, and that these issues do not impact all young people equally. We hope to respond in a manner that is sustained, meaningful and sincere.
UN Youth Australia unequivocally affirms that bla(c)k lives matter.
UN Youth Australia unequivocally affirms that Indigenous lives matter.
We are very good at talking about international issues but have too often hesitated to address Australia’s appalling treatment of our own First Nations peoples. It is no longer an excuse to say that other organisations are ‘better placed’. As such, we commit to using our platform to inform and educate young people on the many faces of institutionalised racism — now and into the future.
We must also look inwards. UN Youth acknowledges that we are yet to take substantial action to ensure Indigenous youth are routinely represented in the changes we come together to create. There are entrenched barriers to participation in our organisation for Indigenous young people, and People of Colour more generally, and we are committed to making long-term, meaningful and informed changes to identify and remove those barriers.
As a small start, please see this bank of resources for those looking to educate themselves and work towards allyship. In particular, we would like to highlight this fantastic resource sharing document collated by a number of women of colour and allies, some of whom have been involved in our organisation, and which has been shared with permission.
The choices we make everyday matter. They are an opportunity to demonstrate our values and make a meaningful impact on the world. The vision of a brighter future has long inspired UN Youth’s commitment to Australian young people. In our vision, there is no tolerance for racism.
UN Youth Australia
Please download the statement here: External Statement on Bla(c)k Lives Matter