“My name is Guyala, you don’t know me.
Im a Birri-Gubba woman, and proud to be
So don’t judge me, for what you see.”
Those are the words that finished a powerful poem written by 16-year-old Guyala Bayles, which she showcased at the Invasion Day march in Brisbane on Tuesday.
The poem, titled ‘Don’t Judge Me’, is a compelling piece that deals with issues facing Indigenous peoples, most notably racism, dispossession, land rights, effects of substance abuse and disease, and the continuing fight for justice.
Guyala hopes that these words will provoke thought, empathy, encouragement and action.
“I hope they just take it all in, and realise that Australia’s a stolen country. The white fellas come here and they just think they own everything, and I want people to know that just because we're black doesn’t mean that we drink, or we are thieves. There’s actually a lot of black fullas out there that are doing good in life,” she told NITV.
“I just want people to stop being racist. I just want young people to get up there as well and do the same thing I’m doing with poems, because we need to be strong and come into the next generation. The older fullas they will eventually need to sit down and it's time for us to get up and take part.”
The impact of the piece was clear as Guyala was treated to a deafening applause from the crowd.
“It took about two days. I wrote it in school about a year-and-a half ago, I am in grade 12 now, so I think that was in grade 10.”
Guyala draws inspiration from some of the older generations of her family, who are prominent figures in the Aboriginal community.
“My motivation comes from my grandfather and my grandmother, Tiga Bayles and his mother Maureen Watson. They raised me and were telling me to be a little activist, so yeah they are my little motivation,” she said.