June 1st, 2020
Auckland City marched for George Floyd, for the Black Lives Matter Movement, for the Arms Down New Zealand Movement and to say enough is enough, that we are no longer accepting or tolerating any more excuses for your ignorant way of life, your ignorant thought processes or the way you blatantly fail to acknowledge the systemic oppression and racism that exists across institutions and structures our very country is built upon.
It can be difficult to stand up for a cause so important. You question yourself, your ability and knowledge, if your contribution will even make a difference. When the push back is even stronger, it gets even harder, members of the public, the media and people in authoritative positions who publicly condemn the movement and the people driving it forward because it was inconvenient and the “wrong time”. But you know what is more difficult, being black in a world that is designed to work against you in every racist way possible.
Instead of the rest of the nation standing with us the New Zealand media and the New Zealand Government villainized our peaceful actions. I fear that the very leaders who we look to for guidance are not equipped with the mindset to take us forward. To address the thousands of protesters and tell them they’ve “slapped small businesses in the face”, or that “you’ve let down 5 million kiwis” and who suggest organisers of these protests should be prosecuted, is what our actions were met with. The type of back lash that you received from the public, New Zealand media and the New Zealand Government is exactly the type of institutional racism that needs to be abolished. It is designed to silence you, to make you feel like you’ve done something wrong, to make you think “maybe I shouldn’t have made such a fuss” or “maybe I shouldn’t have marched”. These are the words and condemnations that are derived from a stagnant country and a government that does not reflect what the PEOPLE WANT. You marched because for too long now, black people have been killed in cold blood, because of the colour of their skin and you are being made to feel like that was the WRONG thing to do.
We will not apologise for you feeling inconvenienced by the timing of George Floyd’s public lynching nor will we wait to express our disgust and distain for silent leaders, or what we’ve come to realise, racist leaders. The world is in TURMOIL and people are suffering every day and the fact that we find ourselves here, in 2020, STILL having to fight, and fight hard to change a system that was designed to see privilege flourish in every way, shape and form and to keep minorities from even getting to the start line.
The New Zealand Media and Government certainly weren’t expecting the huge turn out on Monday. That should be enough to tell you how little they think of you. The government underestimated you and I and the power of the people. Independent thinking and mass organised public action are very scary concepts for people in privileged positions. It is these types of mass, organised peaceful gatherings that scare the institutions. It is threatening and dangerous because that is exactly what institutions rely on, public submission and compliance to ensure the machine keeps churning and working exactly how they’ve designed it and how they intend it to continue.
Thousands of people spoke loudly enough for the entire world to see and hear us yet our own leaders are blinded by privilege. Instead of addressing what so many people around the world are gearing up to fight for you deflected and publicly scolded the people you should have been praising.
We’re represented by a New Zealand media who have no interest in reporting for the people but rather spin narratives about the people. A New Zealand Government that is reactive rather than proactive about Racism within New Zealand. With some politicians who blatantly deny the existence of racism, some who mock it in parliament and some who acknowledge it and still choose to do nothing. New Zealand was absolutely torn apart by one of its most heinous acts of terrorism it has ever seen in Christchurch. 15th March 2019, a mass shooting at a mosque, purposely targeting the Muslim community. A racially fuelled terrorist attack. We no longer accept your excuse that this isn’t a problem for New Zealand to get involved in. This is a worldwide pandemic that needs to be dealt with on an international scale.
We haven’t let down a country, we stood up on behalf of the world and to the black community now you know you’re not alone. Despite the state of the world there are people here in New Zealand who see and hear you. Thousands of people who marched and chanted for you and who will continue to fight for you, because you’ve fought tirelessly for far too long.
To everyone else, the rest of the public who fail to acknowledge the truth, the New Zealand Media who have been side tracked and continue to create narratives that only exist in the balding heads of the old white men who sit behind desks, to Winston Peters our Deputy Prime Minister, David Seymour the leader of the ACT party, to Judith Collins who laughs at our Treaty in parliament and who is tired of being judged for being white, to our Prime Minister; your privileged positions have meant you’ve kept us and this issue at a distance, telling us to keep our distance; because the reality has always been, we’re stronger together. With no new Covid cases, no community transmission and 1 active case remaining in New Zealand I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say stop using Covid-19 as a method of control and stop using it to deflect what the people want from our government.
It is time to channel our emotions to ensure we don’t lose sight of the goal and what is important here. Systemic oppression like all forms of prejudice, biases and racism are learned therefore can be UNLEARNED and systemic racism UNDONE but that means that we must use our voices to call out individuals, groups, organisations and institutions. Recognise intentional actions against minorities and acknowledge your own short comings and the role that you have to play in this fight. Say it out loud! No matter how uncomfortable that makes you or anyone else feel.