How To Be An Effective Ally On Invasion Day

As January 26th draws near, many non-Indigenous folk may be wondering what they can do to help Indigenous people and how to be an effective ally.

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As January 26th draws near, many non-Indigenous folk may be wondering what they can do to help Indigenous people and how to be an effective ally.

While the idea of reaching out to a Blak person you know may be tempting, this actually won’t do anyone any good. You will be forcing them into doing work for you, and chances are you may not even get a reply.

Instead of doing that, I’ll provide you with a list of ways to be an effective ally on Invasion day and beyond.

Show Up

There are many events, nationwide, to rally and march against the celebration of Australia Day.  Some things to keep in mind when marching:

– Wear a mask

– Maintain social distancing

– Bring water and be sun safe

– Don’t attempt to lead the march

– Don’t start chants — this is for the organisers to do!

– Don’t play music — this was a big issue in the BLM protests, with non-Indigenous marchers playing music over the top of chants and cries. It disrupts the attempt of a unified message and displays a total disregard for the Aboriginal people which we are marching for and along. It also shows that you value your voice and music over those who are fighting and suffering.

– Don’t play up or do anything illegal in clothing that could have you mistaken for Mob

– Use yourself as a barrier between police and Blak people. If you can stay on the outskirts and march near police, it allows the Blak protesters to feel more secure.

– Be camera-ready should there be police violence

Pay the Rent

In the middle of a pandemic showing up to a rally is not something everyone is able to do. Donating to Indigenous organisations is a way to ensure you’re able to show up, should you not be able to march. Of course, you can do both, and both are appreciated, but for some this may be the only option.

Donations could be made to a variety of organisations and causes. These range from Seed Mob, Black Lives Matter fundraising, Black Rainbow, or Healing Foundation, or if there’s a specific cause or thing you’re passionate about you could find a Blak organisation in that area. For example, if you’re passionate about media, IndigenousX is a great fit.

If you’re unsure, there are number of resources out there about places to donate.


While social movements became quite the trend over the last couple of years with hashtags and black squares, it’s important that you don’t get caught up in how to look best for the ‘gram. If you’re asked to do something by the organisers of the rally, do it. This includes the things mentioned above. If an artist asks you not to wear their art as it’s for mob only — don’t wear it. If someone asks you not to show pictures or names of someone on your sign, it’s important you listen to the Mob and their requests and fulfil them. The rally isn’t about you, or your comfort (or discomfort).

This is the easiest way for you to show that you’re actually there for the cause, the people, and that you care. If you show up to the rallies and do the opposite of what mob and organisers have asked (like certain “socialist” organisations have done) you are not going to be taken seriously as an ally, you will just be annoying.

Do Your Research

While on your quest to be a better person and standing up for what’s right, it can be tempting to reach out to an Aboriginal person you know for information. Please don’t. Aboriginal people don’t owe you a free education.

January is already a stressful enough month without the added drama of a cheese name change or an old acquaintance asking for 60,000 years of education in a short dm. It’s not difficult to find resources that will educate you on the past and present for Aboriginal people. Ensure you steer clear of white-owned sites like Creative Spirits and instead start somewhere like IndigenousX. After some Googling, it won’t be too hard to find the info you need. Once you’re aware of our history, the current issues, and that the 26th was originally a Day of Mourning, you may feel more strongly about your urge to march.

Elevate Voices And Pass The Mic

While it may be tempting to voice your opinions and speak out against celebrations of Australia Day, make sure you don’t speak over the voices of Aboriginal people.

This isn’t just meant in the literal sense at a rally — this can easily be something you do on social media. Firstly, if you’re about to say something, look for places that it’s already been said by a Blak person.

Secondly, there are so many social media accounts, Blak owned organisations and Blak owned businesses (like Clothing The Gap) which are posting all about Invasion Day right now. From what to do at marches, to a short but detailed history of the date and its significance for Aboriginal people. Don’t be afraid to share posts like these onto your timeline or story — this can be a very easy way of spreading information and showing support.

Don’t Judge How Blak People Spend the Day

Marching can be full on. Aside from being physically draining, it can also be mentally and emotionally exhausting.

People don’t like marching for a variety of reasons like disability or over-stimulation. If you see or know an Aboriginal person who isn’t marching, don’t question why, or try to make them feel bad for not attending. For starters, they could have gone to a morning service or flag-raising ceremony but would prefer not to march in the heat of the day. They could have community events in the evening. They could be too emotionally and mentally fatigued.

The point is that we fight every year and all year round and it’s okay if someone takes a day off – you don’t know what they’re doing or have done behind the scenes. We all grieve and fight and deal with things in our own ways and if one person is too worn out this year then that’s okay.

The day will never be easy or comfortable to deal with, but if you disregard your comfort for a moment and follow these tips on how to be an effective ally, you will find your day easier and be able to have a genuine impact.

Bizzi Lavelle is a Wakka Wakka woman living on Quandamooka country. She is an educator, performer and writer who specialises in sociology, gender and sexuality and race based works.