News - 11 June 2020

Systemic racism is everyone’s problem to address

Globally, as here in Australia, the fight for racial justice is part of the fight for climate and environmental justice. 

Active protest and advocacy against violent racism and racial injustice means standing with and behind Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of colour here in Australia.

Traditional Owners have been dispossessed of their country and barriers to ongoing connection continue today. Ongoing systems of oppression impede access, control, and management of ancestral lands and waters. 

These systems of oppression must be changed.

Now, more than ever is a time to listen, to be an ally. 

Gary Foley's advice for those serious about becoming involved in the struggle for justice is that "the first thing you need to do is ... look in the mirror, you need to look at yourself, think hard and fast about who you are..." 

Which involves recognising and using our privilege. And we must be prepared to confront what this privilege provides us.

Systemic racism, violent racism, racial injustice—it is about all of us. Everyone who lives in Australia is part of this. And racial injustice is everyone’s problem to address.

And as such, we must tackle racial discrimination, and face up to the ongoing dispossession of lands that Australia’s First Nations people experience every day. 

Around the world, First Nations people and people of colour are often impacted first and worst by the environment and climate crises, in the context of ongoing inequality and injustice around critical issues like land, health, housing or education. 

The Wilderness Society's purpose is to protect ecosystems for the ongoing survival of life on Earth—that's all life on Earth. 

We must continue to listen to, learn from, work with and walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to achieve this.  

We must also recognise that the environment movement is not exempt from the legacy or daily operation of systemic racism—whether in America or here in Australia. The Wilderness Society will continue to look at how we work, challenge the assumptions we hold and the decisions we make. 

We stand with those calling for peace and justice for all.


This article - Black Lives Matter, Aboriginal Lives Matter - by the  Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention provides actions and readings for those wanting to learn more or resources for those seeking support.