This year, the annual Sydney Peace Prize awarded the honour to Black Lives Matter, the first time the award has been given to a movement, rather than an individual.
While in Australia to accept the award, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors and Canadian chapter leader Rodney Diverlus met with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and advocates. Senior Lawyer, Shahleena Musk, was part of a number of a number of those meetings, and helped coordinate a people of colour organising exchange.
Given the similarities in the injustices faced by black people in North America and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, the visit was an opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and strategies. You watch footage of the meeting between Black Lives Matter founders and Change the Record on their Facebook page.
Over-incarceration rates, over policing, dis-empowerment, lack of consultation, and discriminatory laws were discussed throughout the meeting, with the hope that Black Lives Matter would be able to draw attention to the resistance and struggle facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Weeks of consultation with members of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, led to a full day exchange between People of Colour, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, where people we able to discuss the issues affecting them and their communities. The emotional and powerful event brought to the fore the huge burden placed on those working in this space, especially involving trauma. But it also provided a chance to bring people together, to give hope, share knowledge, build connection, and empower them to determine what should happen next.
You can read more about the Black Lives Matter visit to Australia here.