You Need To Watch Nakkiah Lui Talk About Indigenous Deaths In Custody On ‘The Project’
"For the people watching, I want to say: think about your loved ones. Think about what would you do if they died begging for help? What would you do if they died with a knee on their neck? How angry would you be? What I'm saying is, be angry for us."
Actor, writer and Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman Nakkiah Lui has given an impassioned speech on The Project urging non-Indigenous Australians to feel outrage at police brutality at home against First Nations people.
In Tuesday’s episode largely dedicated to detangling both the past week of Black Lives Matter protests across the US — a week met with only escalating police militarisation and brutality — and contextualising Australia’s own treatment of Indigenous people by police, Lui spoke to remind Australians that police brutality is disproportionately used against First Nations people.
As per The Guardian, 432 Indigenous people have died in police custody since 1991, since Australia’s Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Joining The Project‘s Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar, Lui elaborated on a tweet she made earlier that day drawing attention to these deaths which Bickmore quoted in full.
“Over 424 Aboriginal people have lost theirs lives since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,” she wrote. “That’s 14 people murdered a year. If a white person was murdered every month for 24 years by the same group, we’d call them terrorists. You call it Australia.”
In an impassioned speech, Lui asked Australians to think about this beyond statistics.
“These people aren’t just numbers. They have names. David Dungay, Tanya Day,” she said. “And they are loved – they are still loved. For the people watching, I want to say: think about your loved ones. Think about what would you do if they died begging for help? What would you do if they died with a knee on their neck? How angry would you be?”
“What I’m saying is, be angry for us. Stand with us. Protest with us, because we need you.”
Fighting back tears, Lui finished with a plea for viewers to make Australia a better place.
“There was never no wonderful Australia. But what we can do is create hope by creating a better world for each other. I mean, I don’t have anything else to say from that — these are people. I don’t want to live in a country where names become numbers. I just don’t.”
Watch the segment below, and find a series of Indigenous fundraisers, community networks and educational resources you can donate and pay attention to, as recommended by Indigenous activist Hayden Moon in his article, ‘Australia Must Stop Turning A Blind Eye To Our Own Black Deaths’.
"These people aren't just numbers – they have names. Be angry for us. Stand with us. Protest with us. Because we need you. I don't want to live in a country where names become numbers. I just don't" – @nakkiahlui pic.twitter.com/DptpKH2pc9
— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 2, 2020
If you’re wondering how you can make a difference, here are some current campaigns that you can follow:
First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch
You can donate to:
Justice for David Dungay Junior
Aboriginal focussed pages that you can support:
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – WAR
Stop Black Deaths in Custody Australia
Individual Aboriginal activists who post about Aboriginal issues:
Australian Indigenous Politics
And you should also educate yourself on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander folk with police:
Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians by R. Bruce Elder
Why Warriors Lie Down And Die by Richard Trudgen.