Matike! Maranga!

Reo Tauira

Time and time again the world is reminded of the injustices that occur on the daily. But we’re being reminded at the cost of our brother’s and sister’s lives. Given the current circumstances and the restrictions COVID has imposed on the world, we may not be able to physically come together but we can stand in solidarity in our own personal capacities.

Unity, diversity and sense of community is more important than ever, even if we can only achieve that in a digital space for now.

Aotearoa might be a small island nation in the South Pacific but that won’t take away our ability to amplify the voices that speak back against racism. Let’s make our voices heard for one another and stand united in this cause.

The 2020 WSU Board of Directors stands in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters and we condemn racism, anywhere, everywhere and at all times. In order for humanity to advance we need to shift the perspective that oppression is only a problem for those who are oppressed. Aside from rallies and protests, we need to ask and be honest with ourselves if our actions positively contribute to racial equity, or if rather, they’re perpetuating racial inequity. We’ve shied away from the hard conversations for far too long. But we can start at home. With ourselves, our whānau, friends and colleagues.

This is where ally-ship is truly important. Whether you’re Native, of Colour, Indigenous or not at all, we need to take a stand against this immense hatred that occurs every day. To only recognise this ill behaviour and not do anything about it does not do justice to the people who lose their lives daily because of the colour of their skin.

We need to start asking each other to not be dismissive of the bad behaviours and microaggressions of the people in your life that perpetuate this negativity. We need to start asking each other to not use hateful language. We need to ask each other to not let hate manifest in ANY forms.

The Black Lives Matter Movement is a movement against the racism, oppression and violence faced by Black communities worldwide. The same atrocities too faced by Native, Indigenous, Pacific and People of Colour. These are the people who are actually being demonised for their culture. Some of our greatest Māori movements were influenced by Black movements, motifs and symbols. This is our whakapapa to each other. Racism is not isolated to the USA – it happens here in Aotearoa too.

Soon we will come together again. The physical distancing that has divided us for the last few months will be gone. But we must recognise that for so many, the world will still be as cold and as distant as it seems now. As we move forward, we must strive to be different, to think differently and to embrace the lessons we have learnt.

We cannot, and we must not let our own sense of normality restore the divisions that we are awake to in this moment, the need for justice and the feeling that together, we are the architects of our future. There is so much that has been said and there is so much more that can be said. But most importantly, bit by bit we must each proactively dismantle these systems of oppression that have been in operation for far too long.

Alone we can be broken, but together we are unbreakable.

Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ki te kāpuia e kore e whati – King Tāwhiao.

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