“When is it going to stop?”

WHEN video footage emerged of George Floyd's fatal encounter with Minneapolis Police, like many, Bianca Monaghan found it difficult to watch.

"I couldn't make it to the end, to see this poor man pass away," she said.

George Floyd was killed in police custody. Picture: Offices of Ben Crump Law
George Floyd was killed in police custody. Picture: Offices of Ben Crump Law

"You see this kind of footage and I wonder if this one will be the tipping point because when is it going to stop?"

Multiple protests have been organised around Australia, including Grafton on Sunday, to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. While proud to see Australians uniting over this latest tragedy, Ms Monaghan said she has reservations about its intentions.

"I don't want the hype of this to be a trend just because it's happening in America," she said.

"I think it's good that we're doing to have a protest this weekend, but we also had one in Grafton for Elijah Dougherty (who was killed in 2016 while riding a motorbike) and nothing much has changed."

Since 1991, there have been over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody and not one conviction according to The Guardian's 'Deaths Inside' project.

Bianca and Vikki Monaghan with Lennox and Maisey.
Bianca and Vikki Monaghan with Lennox and Maisey. Caitlan Charles

For Ms Monaghan, these statistics provide a sobering reminder that the same problems occurring overseas are happening to Indigenous Australians..

"Just the other day there's footage of that teenager who was dropped to the ground by (Australian) police. What if that was my son? Do I simply tell him, sorry, that cop was having a bad day?" she said.

"When it comes to our government and making real change, we're still fighting the same fight our grandparents had. If people are serious and want to support First Nation people that's great, but let's do something about it and actually make a positive change."

 

"This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to tell them"

Bianca Monaghan knew it was inevitable; the painful conversation she'd need to have with her children about the social, political and cultural landscape of Indigenous Australia.

She just never imagined the conversation would be thrust upon them at such a young age.

But with the recent flood of media and social media attention on George Floyd's death and subsequent protests, they arrived on her doorstep almost overnight.

"I had to explain why a policeman would kill a black man to my black children," she said.

"My children are nine and four. How do you explain to a four-year-old what's happening?"

In a heartbreaking social media post, which is now part of Clarence Valley photographer Minya Rose's ongoing project We're in this Together, Ms Monaghan revealed the difficulties of raising her children during these confronting times.

"This is one of the hardest things ever have had to tell them," she wrote.

"This is another thing I cannot protect my babies from and that scares me so much. I always knew I would have the conversation; I just didn't think it would be nine and four."

Ms Monaghan said she was proud of her two children enthusiastically embracing their Bundjalung culture but worries about their future navigating a complex world of racial prejudice.

"They love their culture and embrace it but it's going to pivot at some stage in their lives when they realise their culture will also mean they're a target," she said.

"There are some amazing police officers here who work incredibly hard to build strong relationships with our communities here, but as a parent of Aboriginal children, police are the one group of people I can't protect them from and that's scary.

"When you see that footage of the teenager getting dropped by police, it's terrifying. What if that was my son? It means I have to teach my kids to be quiet and passive if they're ever in that situation, so they don't get hurt or killed."


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