Sydney, Saturday June 6th 2020.
Majeda Beatty delivers her speech to the Black Lives Matter protest at Town hall.
Hey everyone, how are you guys going today?
Alright, we are being pushed on but I would just like to get up here and have this conversation very quickly.
My name is Majeda-Mo’ Tapalinga Beatty and I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and pay my respects to the elders past, present and future for they hold the memories, traditions, cultures and hopes of Indigenous Australia. I would like to acknowledge the other Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people here today. My mother is an Aboriginal woman; we are Kuku Yalanji, (and) Wuthathi from far north Queensland, Torres Strait Islander… Torres Strait Islander from Moa and Darnley. My father is a Black American man from the City of New York.
I stand here representing all three of my people, all three diverse black cultures. I work in schools and corporate environments sharing my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander song and dance.
On May 25th, 2020 in Minneapolis Minnesota, a black man by the name of George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight. Giana, his beautiful black six-year-old daughter will grow up fatherless because of the collaborative act of homicide by three men.
A white police officer held down George Floyd with his knee by pinning his entire weight upon Mr Floyds’ neck for exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The white police officer did not remove his knee even after Mr Floyd begged for his life, please, ‘I can’t breathe, my stomach hurts, everything hurts, they’re going to kill me, my neck hurts, I can’t breathe’. He cried out for his deceased mother. He lost consciousness and was still pinned down for a full minute after the paramedics arrived at the scene. Although the police officers involved in this particular case have been fired and arrested, we are only at the beginning of gaining real justice for all black victims murdered at the hands of police brutality.
Being killed by the police is now the sixth leading cause of death for young black men living in America between the years of… between the years of 2017…. Between the years of 2017 and 2020 there have been 698 known black deaths by police. That’s 31 Black people just this year. We are all aware of how strongly the world, especially here in Sydney are influenced by Black American culture. Whether that be your love for hip-hop, dance, rap music, black films; please, please, please, I don’t have a lot of time… or black slang. Ya’ll wanna say ‘it’s lit’, Ya’ll wanna say ‘fam’, ‘Slay Queen’. You can appropriate our culture then why can’t you speak up? Show up when it comes to our black issues. Show up. You must love black people as much as you love black culture.
A black American man died 12 days ago. Black people descending from the African Diaspora, we are mourning. We have not had the time or safe space to process this in an appropriate manner. The people directly affected by this have not been allowed to grieve. Some black people in communities have been discarded from this narrative. I see you; I see your richness in your individual black culture and history. The black community is the most diverse group of people.
We need to ensure that all black lives are being valued, heard and uplifted through this time. How, how? One more thing before I go. How can you be a part of the change? Create spaces for black and First Nation voices to be heard. Support them, take their lead. Very importantly, research, learn, reflect on a history that my Aboriginal and my Torres Strait Islander mob have faced here.
Please! Please! Please! Acknowledge the genocide and systematic erasure of my culture here. This occurred, to lead, to become the place that we all know now. Shame. Prevent what happened to our brother David Dungay and our countless other Aboriginal mob from happening to our First Nation people ever again by being aware, gaining knowledge of these issues, our communities that we’re facing here on this soil.
One more thing. We must always remember, under this concrete, beneath these tall buildings, this land is, was, and always will be traditional Aboriginal land. No justice! I said no justice! I can’t hear you, no justice! Thank you so much.
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