Scrolling through my Facebook feed, Twitter feed and email inbox, I’m seeing and reading a lot about the #blacklivesmatter movement in the US.
In case you missed it, it’s a push back against the daily and disproportionate violence against black people in the US.
Everyone from celebrities (Kanye, Beyonce, Jay Z) to normal people ordering their Starbucks under the name “BlackLivesMatter” so that baristas call it out, have pushed the movement into the nation’s conscience, to a point where it’s now a large and vocal modern civil rights movement.
It's filtered into the Australian psyche, too.
To a point where it's expected that over 5000 Melbournians will take to the streets this weekend to support the movement, in a protest outside the State Library.
So here is the question: Why don’t we have Black Lives Matter movement in Australia?
When Adam Goodes gets called an ape on the football field, we get riled up, we write op-eds, we wring our hands over the undercurrent of racism in this country - absolutely, it's an important conversation to have.
But are we missing another conversation? A difficult, complex, sad and fraught one? An unpopular conversation; filled with questions that seem to hard?
Conversations about Aboriginal deaths in custody, rates of family violence, desperate poverty, drug and alcoholism, the alarming rate of Indigenous suicide here.
I don't claim, as a white woman, to even begin to understand the depth and scope of problems for Indigenous Australians.
So I rang Tauto Sansbury, a Narungga man whose been working in advocacy for aboriginal people for over 30 years.
I asked him, straight up: "Tatuo, I’m a white middle class woman, do I even dare speak about this? With no understanding and no answers and no idea how to help?"
And he said really plainly: “Well, do you CARE about this as an issue? "
"If you do, then yes. You can talk about it. And you should."
So I did. (Post continues after audio.)
Over 20 years ago there was a Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.