I was inspired by young blackfullas making media for black audiences

13 Mar 2018

My nan Sandra Onus and my mum Tracey Onus would always take me to rallies or protests. I remember when I was 19, I went with my mum and aunties and jumped in the car and we drove to Ngunnawal country (Canberra) for Invasion Day and the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

I often think about what made me ‘political’. Of course my family had a huge influence. My nan Sandra Onus and my mum Tracey Onus would always take me to rallies or protests. I remember when I was 19, I went with my mum and aunties and jumped in the car and we drove to Ngunnawal country (Canberra) for Invasion Day and the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

There we so many people blackfullas and whitefullas everywhere and it was in the middle of summer and I remember waking up at 7am in a stinking hot tent which I wanted to escape from. Apart from the unbearable heat I remember just meeting so many deadly black people, most of whom I can’t remember but wish I did. It was the year that Julia Gillard lost her shoe. After I seen hundreds of people move through the park to the nearby cafe, not realising that Julia was there, then seeing the photos of her getting taken away by her security.

I remember thinking it was hilarious but some people disagreed, anyway the next few days went on and we returned home. I didn’t get too political for about a year. I was isolated in an abusive relationship and I spent a lot of time on Facebook.

One of the Facebook pages my ex and I often spoke about and agreed on was the Blackfulla Revolution facebook page. I loved reading their radical posts. They really challenged my beliefs and I found it really confronting but the more information they posted about our struggle the more ‘conscious’’ I became.

I remember the site posted photos of my aunty Meriki and her friends Pekeri Ruska, Callum Clayton-Dixon and Boe Spearim traveling with their Aboriginal passports to Turtle Island. Blackfulla Revolution were showing people my own age challenging the systems and learning about Indigenous people in another country, then bringing their knowledge back home. There was a photo on there of Meriki and Callum smiling ear to ear when they got through customs in New Zealand with their Aboriginal passport and I thought, “I want to do that”.

I continued to follow the site and seen their campaigns against Recognise, G20 and Australia Day. They always made and shared content with meme vibes which made it easy and accessible to read and understand for a young blackfulla who struggles reading. It helped me build an opinion about why I don’t want Constitutional Recognition. I was able to converse with people about my reasoning, I was able make informed decisions about if I wanted to participate in AFL games that had Recognise highly involved. I learnt that I didn’t want to be included in Australia’s founding racist document as it will compromise my sovereignty.

Once I started getting involved in Aboriginal politics I remember preparing for Invasion Day 2015 which was organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR). It was their first rally held in Narrm and I rallied everyone from work to attend and made glue, got paints for banners and stuck up posters all around my suburb. I was full of so much pride for being involved since it was organised by young blackfullas. Anyway, a couple of months go by and WAR were holding a magazine launch at the Aboriginal restaurant Charcoal Lane. The magazine was called Black Nations Rising. The first edition had young blackfullas on the front cover at the G20 and the young blackfullas were people from  my community. I was proud. I couldn’t believe that this even existed. I flipped through the pages and it had “Words of the struggle”. It featured words like sovereignty, colonisation, decolonisation and self-determination, all these words that I heard all of my life and definitely said them myself but didn’t understand exactly what the words meant, and which still to this day change. It deepened my understanding of these words and what they represent to me.

This magazine had amazing writers like Chelsea Bond’s piece ‘why I won’t call you a coconut… anymore’ and I read that piece and I have never called anyone a coconut since. WAR’s publication backed up the work they do on the street. It inspired young black people across the country by not just organising protests but making publications and magazines that represented young blackfullas who wanted to be involved in resistance, revival and decolonisation.

The magazine even featured recipes on how to decolonize your diet, Indigenous resistance from Turtle Island, articles about climate justice and protecting country, and examples about how to assert your land rights and sovereignty. As I look back at the publications I’m still in awe that young blackfullas put it together. This young black magazine published articles that I never seen elsewhere, by people I didn’t know existed because I didn’t go to university and didn’t have access to or see myself represented in any media that I came across.

Since I saw the Blackfulla Revolution, a magazine like Black Nations Rising (now called The Black Rising) and seeing WAR mob doing inspiring work in my community I don’t think I would’ve felt a sense of community in that my experiences and realisations about the ongoing colonialism and genocide happening in this country and reading and yarning about all the massacres and purposeful and planned oppression of my people is difficult to understand, but I found comfort in that I wasn’t alone and that young blackfullas were feeling like me: heartbroken, angry, motivated and fearless, because what are they going to do to us that they already haven’t done?

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