Uniting Vic.Tas, together with national leaders of the Uniting Church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, stands solemnly alongside protesters in the United States following the tragic death of African American man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.
We share their grief, outrage and frustration at the systemic racism that allows such incidents to happen again and again in the United States.
We should also be righting injustice at home.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are incarcerated at higher rates than any other group globally. Despite making up two per cent of the general adult population, First Nations Australians are 28 per cent of the prison population.
Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, over 430 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in police custody.
We urgently need to address both the underlying socioeconomic factors that bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into contact with the justice system, as well as the systemic racism within our institutions.
Uniting is aware of the disadvantage faced by the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we work with every day.
The protests in the US, especially as they coincide with Reconciliation Week in Australia, provide an important opportunity to channel our anger and sadness into positive action.
For Uniting this means renewing our commitment to reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people, advocating for self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and calling out both direct and indirect racism wherever we see it.
We stand for reconciliation and justice for all people.