Media release: GSA supports Black Lives Matter
Tuesday 9 June 2020
All of us at GSA are horrified and angered by the ongoing violence and racism faced by people of colour. The horrific murder of George Floyd is just one recent painful example of the very same injustice that has taken countless other black lives over countless years. That injustice is a deep-seated, systemic culture of racism and white supremacy that causes harm and suffering all around the world. And it must be eradicated completely.
Black lives matter. This statement calls attention to the fact that black and brown people face dangers, traumas and pain that other people do not. It recognises that our culture is steeped in attitudes that cause harm to black and brown people specifically and uniquely. Addressing this problem must not be gradual or tokenistic; the work must be done urgently, and publicly, and fearlessly.
GSA recognises that the problem of white supremacy and racism is not limited to the United States, and not limited to the brutality of a militarised police force.
GSA President Jeremy Waite says: “We may be horrified by what is happening overseas, but must also look unflinchingly at our own past and present, and see the same terrible, systemic cruelty here as well. We recognise that our own organisation benefits from white privilege, and that our small numbers still do not have enough black voices among us. GSA must actively pursue anti-racist practices to empower indigenous voices and voices of colour, and never forget that sovereignty of the land on which we work was never ceded, and that colonialism is an ongoing process yet to end.”
We promise to look inward, and to have difficult conversations with our own team and Council, and with our student communities. GSA CEO Rachna Muddagouni adds: “We commit to educating ourselves, and to speak up when we recognise a problem. We pledge to work on redressing injustice and inequality in the larger University community and in our wider culture. We commit to working with and amplifying Indigenous Australians and people of colour in our events and campaigns, with groups such as the Indigenous Graduate Student Association (IGSA) with whom we already share affiliation. This problem is so much bigger than us, but all of us must do whatever part we can, and silence is not an option.”