WE STAND WITH THE OPPRESSED, THE VICTIMISED, THE TARGETED, THOSE WHOSE LIVES ARE MADE MISERABLE BY HARASSMENT AND DISPOSSESSION.
WE STAND AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY, AGAINST SYSTEMIC RACISM, AGAINST FASCISM.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Ever since news of the murder of George Floyd broke we’ve been struggling to articulate our feelings.
Watching the video unfold was harrowing. Watching that suffering, the realisation of what will happen. The shame of watching an Asian man run interference while his white partner strangled a black man to death in broad daylight.
We were looking for the right words, trying to say the right thing about the injustice we see, but not wanting to make it seem like we’re just “jumping on the bandwagon”. During the campaign for same sex marriage in Australia we were vocal in our support, and we did hear from some people who said, "well you're wedding photographers, it'll be good for business." I suppose you could see it that way. But we were on the right side of history, and we are proud to say we supported it then and we support it now.
And as we listened to the voices of black people telling their stories and speaking their truth, and seeing that answered in violence and brutality from police, we realised that we were wrong to stay silent. We worried about finding the “right words”, but maybe we were also just scared to speak out. Maybe there are no right words. But to stay silent is to be complicit.
We live in a world where a system of oppression exists to lift up those with lighter skin and beat down those with darker skin. As Asian people we have felt the cruelty of that structural racism, but in truth we were astoundingly privileged — we weren’t at the top but we were nowhere near the bottom. We’ve never felt unsafe in our interactions with police, and thankfully we’ve only suffered racial attacks a few times between us in the time we lived in Australia.
But as part of the Asian diaspora our standing is such that we can be that police officer, our suffering is such that we feel we have to turn a blind eye lest it happens to us. Such is our power. Such is our privilege. And so it is our responsibility to check our privilege, to check our biases, to search within ourselves to root out our internalised racism, and see that while we are victims we are also beneficiaries in this system.
There are no words that can magically make things better. But we can make changes for the better by listening to the voices of those most marginalised. We must listen to our Indigenous brothers and sisters, to black folks and marginalised people everywhere. We must listen to their stories and amplify their voices. We are lucky that we live at a time where vast knowledge is available at our fingertips, we should use that to educate ourselves and how we can help.
If it is within your means, please consider making a donation in money or time. If not, there are many other ways to make a difference. We can have conversations with the people around us, we can set the standard and be the allies that black folk needs us to be. We can voice our support, and together we can move the needle of where normal is so that the racists who are intent on maintaining the status quo have nowhere to hide. They flourish because we let them. Together, we can close the door on this sorry chapter and open new paths to true equality.
When we truly accept that Black Lives Matter, then all our lives will be better.