Black lives looking to the future

“CLOSE your eyes and just listen,” says Ron Bradfield Jnr, a saltwater Bardi man from the Kimberley region who now resides in Perth.

”Take time to hear people’s individual stories.”

Storytelling has been part of Indigenous culture for over 65,000 years, which is why Northbridge’s Centre For Stories has organised The Future of Black Lives Matter, which combines a mix of stories about racial oppression and division, together with a method to provide healing and understanding so the BLM movement won’t stall without making some progress.

The event will be facilitated by South African writer Sisonke Msmiang and feature Noongar speakers, actor Kylie Bracknell and activist Tanesha Bennell, Bardi man Ron Bradfield Jnr, and British Caribbean man Colin Archibald. 

While the BLM movement was sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States, Australia’s own grim history of oppression has seen large rallies in Perth.

Mr Archibald, who works as a youth mentor, says there is a sense of urgency following the protests; they helped get the message about discrimination out, but people needed more resources to take away so they could help deal with the issues.

The event will showcase each speaker’s personal stories and encourage listeners to keep an open mind in understanding racism within local communities. 

“I wanted to create an event with a different approach, 

a global dynamic, so when people turn up they can gain an understanding that a few weeks of protesting is not just random, it’s a result of hundreds of years of racial divide.”

Mr Archibald said going to a BLM rally in Perth made him think about his own history; his parents immigrated from Jamaica to the United Kingdom, and he knows only too well the traumatic effects of racial discrimination. 

“While we seem to be living a normal life there’s all this trauma embedded in us and it’s been a battle for most of our lives; how we are perceived in society, the assumptions based upon race. 

“Having a variety of black perspective may offer a deeper insight into race relations, and we just want to walk together equally.” Mr Archibald said.

Mr Bradfield says he wants to use storytelling platforms to try to bring Australians together: “When understanding stories we need to consider the context, allow the conversations to keep happening so the younger generations don’t have to suffer the angst we have.”

Pay-what-you-feel tickets available from https://centreforstories.com/event/the-future-of-black-lives-matter and all proceeds go to Aboriginal legal services.

By STACEY HARDING

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