Now You’ve Posted A Black Tile To Insta, Here’s How To Be An Active Ally To BIPOC Australians

Opening up Instagram yesterday, we were all confronted with a seemingly endless feed of black tiles – people posting blacked-out images as part of Blackout Tuesday, muting their personal posts to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement. But now Tuesday has passed, and that doesn’t mean the movement, and our roles as allies to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in Australia and abroad, has passed too. It’s time to do more, and here’s a start on how to be an active ally.

Today, June 3, is Mabo Day. It marks the moment in 1992 when the term “terra nullius” (meaning land belonging to no-one) was overturned in a landmark High Court decision, an important legal battle fought by Torres Strait Mer Island man Eddie Koiki Mabo with his legal team. His victory in the High Court paved the way for land rights and native title to be established, and formal recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a special, spiritual connection to the land.

Maybe posting that black tile photo yesterday was the first time you’ve stood in solidarity with BIPOC folk and the larger Black Lives Matter movement. Maybe you’ve been wanting to know how else you can help carry the weight. You’ve taken an important first step, so here’s how you can walk the walk after talking the talk. It’s not going to be comfortable, you will likely feel guilty, but that’s simply a reality of reckoning with your personal privilege and learning how to be active in allyship.

How To Be An Active Ally To BIPOC Aussies

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Educate Yourself

Learn about the Indigenous history of Australia. Educate yourself on the rampant Aboriginal deaths in custody. There have been at least 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since the Royal Commission into the issue began in 1991. There’s a lot of resources out there if you take a moment to look around, but here’s a non-exhaustive list of things you can read, watch, and listen as a start.

NITV – a free-to-air channel, radio and news site made by, for, and about Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people. It supports and champions the stories and experiences of First Nations people through storytelling, panels and debates, entertainment, and daily news.

Indigenous-X – an online platform that’s working to create a media landscape where Indigenous voices can be shared and heard. The Indigenous-X Twitter account is a platform for a different person every week, who tweet about issues that are important to their own community.

Share Our Pride – helps to debunk myths and answer those questions you feel like you can’t ask.

Attend A Local Protest

Snap protest and demonstrations are happening across the country this week in solidarity with George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement protests across the world, and to protest Indigenous deaths in custody within Australia. Here’s where people are gathering in major cities across Australia to protest, if you’re able to attend.

Stop All Black Deaths In Custody: Vigil For George Floyd
3-5pm, Saturday, June 6
Town Hall (moved from Chippendale)

Stop Black Deaths in Custody – Justice for George Floyd #BLM
2-5pm, Saturday, June 6
Parliament House, Spring St

Black Lives Matter – Stop Black Deaths In Custody Meanjin (BNE)
1-5pm, Saturday, June 6
King George Square

Black Lives Matter Protest
Queen Street Mall (meet to march and join the protest at King George Square)

Perth Peaceful BLM/ILM Protest
12pm Saturday, June 13
Hyde Park

Solidarity with Minneapolis! Justice for George Floyd
12-1:30pm, Saturday, June 6
Victoria Square (Tarndanyangga)

Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest. Justice for George Floyd!
10.30am, Saturday June 6
Garema Place, Civic

Solidarity for Aboriginal deaths in custody & BLM
3pm, Saturday, June 13
Parliament House

Byron Bay
Black Lives Matter
2pm, Saturday June 6
Byron Bay Recreation Grounds

Stop Black Deaths in Custody – Justice for George Floyd #BLM
2-5pm, Saturday June 6
Civic Park

Alice Springs
Black Lives Matter Protest
12pm, Saturday, June 6
Entrance to Yeperenye Shopping Centre

Black Lives Matter Protest
3pm, Saturday, June 6
Fogarty Park

Wagga Wagga
Solidarity March – Black Lives Matter
10am, Saturday, June 6
Bolton Park

Black Lives Matter Protest
TBC – Closer to NAIDOC Week
The Strand

Donate To Australian Organisations

If it’s something that you’re able to do, donating money to Australian BIPOC initiatives and organisations is a vital part of being an active ally. From legal aid, to health promotion, to raising funds for families of people who have died in custody, and healing for Stolen Generations, here’s a non-exhaustive list of where you can support with your wallet.

Pay The Rent
Sisters Inside
Justice For Walker
Justice For Tanya Day
Justice For David Dungay Jr
Human Rights Law Centre
Change The Record
Red Dust – Health Promotion in Remote Indigenous Communities
National Justice Project
AnTAR – National Advocacy Organisation
Healing Foundation
Aboriginal Legal Service – NSW & ACT
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
Black Rainbow
AIME Mentoring

For more information, organisations to support, and places to donate in Austalia and the US, this huge, excellent resource by Sydney-based artist Jade Diaz is extremely useful.

Buy From Indigenous Aussies

Buying from Indigenous Australian businesses is another way you can support as an ally. Here’s a starter of some businesses, creatives and retailers to buy from, and you can find heaps more through local sites like Supply Nation, Buy Indigenous and Yarpa Hub, and global initiatives like Blak Business.

Haus Of Dizzy
Nood Australia
Bush Medijina
Walkabout Clothing
Jarin Street
Something Wild

Know When To Listen

A huge part of being a helpful ally is to know when to stop and actively listen to those you’re supporting. That means opening up yourself to listening and absorbing what BIPOC Australians are saying when speaking, whether it’s at protests, online, or in conversations in your day-to-day life. It means amplifying voices that are not readily heard, or listened to. It means sharing those voices without adding your own comments or thoughts.

And When To Speak

Engage with meaning and purpose, and use your own platforms to help educate your friends and family. These conversations might be hard, but there’s plenty of great resources out there to help you bring up issues like Indigenous deaths in custody and human rights with the people you love.

Cosmopolitan shared experts’ tips on how to talk with your parents about the Black Lives Matter movement (and how to debunk the “all lives matter” argument.)

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This is just the start of how to be an active ally, and that’s important to remember. As allies, we’re all still learning and will never truly understand the experiences of BIPOC Aussies. You might get it wrong sometimes, and that’s okay. It’s important to try, actively listen, talk with friends and family, and approach your allyship with respect and humility.