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"We’ve experienced racism from day one and they have never let up on us. We’ve always been public enemy number one. It doesn’t matter which wave of migrant they hate next."

By
Bertrand Tungandame
Published on
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 15:13
File size
13.74 MB
Duration
7 min 30 sec

Meriki Onus, a Gunnai and Gundjtmara woman, was one of the panelists at a Town Hall forum called: “WHERE ARE WE HEADING? Q and A for the Racialised & Criminalized Communities.”

The event was convened by several organisations including the Police Accountability Project (PAP) and the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Center (FKCLC).

Youth and members of minority groups who have experienced alleged racist police practices shared their experiences.  Other speakers and panelists include social and legal professionals whose line of work involves supporting and advising these criminalized minority groups as well as advocating for them.

Tamar Hopkins, lawyer and founder of the Police Accountability Project was one of the panelists.

Prominent Human Rights advocate Charandev Singh and Tim Lo Surdo, founder and National Director of Democracy in Color, an organization specializing in racial justice for people of color also made presentations and answered participants' questions.

"Unless people start sharing solidarity with us, unless the anti racist movement addresses settler colonialism, we are going to be here talking about the same thing in the next 20 years."

Meriki Onus shared her experience working in the community sector for several years and assisting her people gain greater access to justice with great emphasis around civil law issues.

Her presentation was poignant with examples drawn from her own family, victims of ongoing racism since the beginning of colonization. 

Meriki says, “We’ve experienced racism from day one and they have never let up on us. We’ve always been public enemy number one. It doesn’t matter which wave of migrant they hate next. It is always about hating us with the same intensity from day one. Unless people start sharing solidarity with us, unless the anti racist movement addresses settler colonialism, we are going to be here talking about the same thing in the next 20 years”.

Further information about alleged racist police practices
We don't think it's a reason to stop trying

We are training lawyers to respond to Police duty of care failures in family violence matters and support women to come forward with their stories so a solid evidence base can be documented to advocate for systemic change.-Lawyer Erin Buckley

Meriki Onus particularly credits Aboriginal women for leading the struggle against racism. 

She says “Aboriginal women are the people who keep the resistance strongest. I’m not discounting the work of Aboriginal men because men have also been in the struggle. Aboriginal matriarchy is so strong; it has remained strong since the beginning.”

She cites the example of different generations of powerful women in her family who have led the struggle and continue to fight against racism and colonialism in Victoria.