A video of Melbourne rapper One Sixth (1/6) is being shared far and wide today and that fact gives me hope. That when truth is simply spoken it resonates. That we stop and listen. That we take it as meant, and work together to manifest more truth in our daily lives. This piece, he writes, "was inspired by and in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It's purpose is to help raise awareness of the ongoing race issues happening not only in America but worldwide."
If you need some context, Australia recently held national elections - my country re-elected the 'Tories', in general, and disappointingly, but not sadly surprisingly. Queensland, in the north, also elected a woman called Pauline Hanson. A despicable person we really thought we'd heard the last of back in 1998. But, as we're seeing in the rest of the western world, her populist, parochial and effectively racist policies, alongside a general disgust with mainstream politics in general, have triggered the fearful voting fingers of the majority and now she has a seat in parliament again. And again, governments win elections on fear of the Other. In this case, Muslims (in Hanson's first time in the sun, it was Asians).
As One Sixth (Aaron Stephanus) says, this poem is in response to issues both local and global. Locally, we have deeper issues we don't seem in any way ready to face, while we focus in fear on some threat from 'outside', our most vulnerable are ignored. In Australia, in 2016, Aboriginal people represent only 3% of the total population, yet more than 28% of Australia’s prison population are Aboriginal. The Indigenous imprisonment rate is 13 times higher than it is for non-Indigenous people in Australia.
I still have faith in the groundswell, in the work of the woken. And in the words of the poets, poets like 1/6 who speak from experience. So, I'm still hopeful we'll grow past even this. Hopeful that videos like this get shared and get listened to, that we unite in love, that we listen with respect when black voices say #BlackLivesMatter.
"Take my words as they are / where everybody's throwing rocks in a world made of glass / it is what it is / but with sins in my heart, I resist / say Amen and keep my stone in my palm."