Finance sector union says ‘Black lives matter everywhere’

June 6 protest in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

The Financial Services Union Local Enterprise Council (LEC) for Westpac and St George NSW/ACT unanimously supported the following motion, moved by Robin Mayo and seconded by Christine Otto and supported by the union’s Indigenous officer Ashley Rose, on June 24.

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Mass protests in cities and towns across the United States have exploded after George Floyd, 46, was brutally killed at the hands of 4 police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. He cried out, “I can’t breathe”, and called for his mama.

Protests demanding change to structural racism have erupted across the United States and are now emerging in Australia. These protests involved large sections of the community and are against the structural racism within the criminal justice system.

From Australia, we show our solidarity with racial injustice that is being perpetrated across the globe and in Australia.

Since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 437 more First Nations people have died in the hands of police and prison officers in custody.

Many of the deaths are strikingly similar to the deaths of George Floyd and Eric Garner in New York in 2014, both at the hands of police.

David Dungay Junior, a 26-year-old Dunghutti man, died in Sydney’s Long Bay Prison in 2015. Mr Dungay, standing in his cell peacefully, was tackled by five guards who ripped him from his prison cell after he refused to stop eating biscuits. He was restrained and forcefully sedated with three injections. The whole time he too screamed that he couldn’t breathe.

Last September Yamatji woman Joyce Day was shot in a Geraldton street by a police officer after her sister called Triple 0 asking for help when she began acting erratically. A few days ago, he was charged with murder.

Last November, we saw a police officer shoot Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker three times in his home at Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. He was 19 years old. The police officer has been charged with murder, which is almost unprecedented. He has not yet been convicted.

We, the Local Enterprise Council for Westpac Group NSW/ACT, express our support for the rallies being organised here in Australia to show solidarity with the US movement.

We commit to work with First Nations communities here for justice, especially the families of those 437 people who are desperate for recognition that their family member died, for no other reason than their skin colour.

Furthermore, given Westpac’s approach to inclusion and diversity, its sustainability strategy to make positive social and environmental changes, and its initiatives with remote Indigenous communities; we believe Westpac’s senior management should take a strong stand against racism.

We call on WestPac CEO Peter King and the Westpac Group Board to support this motion.

Black lives matter everywhere.

[The next Sydney rally for Stop Black Deaths in Custody — Black Lives Matter is being organised on July 5 at 1pm at the Domain.]

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