I had imagined my first published writings about Australia would be about the wonders and attractions that are unique to the country. My initial plans were of sharing more lighthearted adventures with you. Instead my first writings about my adventures are about the injustice and destruction of Black lives based on skin color in America and abroad. I am naturally optimistic and I choose to look for the good as I write to you in the midst of sorrow. I am grateful to be a part of the efforts to make things better in the world. I stand in support of peace and equality for everyone but especially for those of us who have not had access to these basic human rights.
On Saturday, July 16, 2016 the events that occurred were absolutely amazing and life-changing. It’s days like what occurred on Saturday that make me step back in awe of all the goodness in my life. Today blessings and heavy favor rained down on me as I attended a peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ anti-racism rally here in Sydney Australia. I would like to thank every Australian who came out in support of Black people in America, Australia, and elsewhere in the world, as well as to acknowledge those people of color who recently lost their lives in needless violence. Thousands attended this event in Sydney.
At the rally, I interviewed many people and took photos. Each interview was special in itself. One of the men I interviewed (namely Ben from the States) talked emotionally about how Australians view Black people in the States primarily as basketball players and singers. The reason was because they grew up watching American television shows and games that personify that part of our culture. So true! Over here, thousands of miles away from Hartford Connecticut, the feeling is that we really know how dance, sing, and play basketball.
My favorite interview was Rodney from Australia’s KISS FM radio. He is the show’s host. Surprisingly, he requested that I interview him in front of the intimidating policemen on their horses. Rodney is a proud Black man who intentionally wanted the police to know his position on racism. He shared his opinions openly, not caring what those around him thought. He stole the show. For example, I asked the simple question ‘If you had one teaching moment, what would you say?’. Instead of a generic reply, he busted out in spoken word. The crowd of photographers that gathered around us made me feel like a celebrity even though I know Rodney was the star.
When the rally was about to begin, I went up onto the stage to get an interview from one of the Aborigine Elders. I ended up on the stage while the entire event played out! I was not only a spectator and a reporter, I also got to be a part of the rally myself. I took pictures with the leaders on the stage and was allowed to watch the rally unfold before me. The organizers even let me speak. I am pleased to report I didn’t let my fellow Americans down. I decided to read a poem from Maya Angelou entitled ‘Still I Rise’. When I finished, I was relieved that I hadn’t blundered. Hearing the applause, I received was confirmation that they understood the relevance of the poem.
Immediately after the rally’s speakers ended their presentations, I was given a yellow vest like the construction workers wear here because I was asked to be in the lead group who intended to walk to the American Consulate. I also was given a ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner which I carried at the front of the crowd. I just want to pause for a second and say that I, Endera Nubia Allen, was at the front of a peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally here in Australia! I marched down the street, proudly holding my six-foot banner with Ebony Patterson.
Hearing the commotion of the thousands of marchers, shoppers came out of nearby stores. Street musicians and the spectators around them stopped what they were doing so that our march could pass. Photographers and cameramen walked backwards in front of us trying to get good shots of the marchers. It was such a thrilling experience to be a part of this meaningful event for those who are willing to speak out against racism. I am truly grateful to the event’s organizers Enoch Mailangi and Keshia Gibson for letting me be a significant part of their rally.
I have interviews that I took of people here in Australia and the realities of racial injustice here that often go unreported within and outside of the country. Those interviews will be featured on the New Northend Agents website, www.northendagents.com, so please stay tuned for those.
Endera Allen is a Northend Agents intern and freelance writer, currently living in Sydney, Australia.