BLACK Lives Matter protest organiser Benjamin Thomson asked a crowd of about 800 to close their eyes and imagine they were born black.

The Sunshine Coast man told them he was just seven years old when he was arrested and strip searched by the police while skating to the shops.

BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS START IN AUSTRALIA

 

People rise their fists at Cotton Tree during a peaceful protest against the deaths of Aboriginal people in custody. Photo: Patrick Woods
People rise their fists at Cotton Tree during a peaceful protest against the deaths of Aboriginal people in custody. Photo: Patrick Woods

His partner Tamika Sadler then told those in Cotton Tree Park that she was in Year 1 when she experienced her first encounter with racism.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," she said.

"It made me question myself about the colour of my skin.

"Ever since that day, I faced an uphill battle about the way I looked."

 

Protest organisers Tamika Sadler and Benjamin Thompson with their son Iluka, 1. Picture: Warren Lynam
Protest organisers Tamika Sadler and Benjamin Thompson with their son Iluka, 1. Picture: Warren Lynam

 

That experience was not one they wanted their son Iluka, 1, to have to face, or any other indigenous person in Australia.

For that reason, Ms Sadler said she was proud to see how united the Sunshine Coast community was at yesterday's peaceful protest against the deaths of Aboriginal people in custody.

Protesters marched in solidarity with the uprising in the US, chanting "No justice, no peace, no racist beliefs".

 

Sunshine Coast community unites at a protest against the murder of Aboriginal people in custody in Cotton Tree. Photo: Patrick Woods
Sunshine Coast community unites at a protest against the murder of Aboriginal people in custody in Cotton Tree. Photo: Patrick Woods

Mr Thomson asked the crowd to continue to amplify their voices, even after the topic was no longer trending world wide.

"It's taken an event in America for you to come and sit with us today," he said.

"If you want to be an activist, you have to be active.

"I want you allies that are here today to stay with us.

"Be thoughtful when it comes to January 26, and think of that pain for us.

"We're here almost 250 years later, having the same fight over the pigment of our skin."

 

Leanna Hunter and Max Mellin holding the Aboriginal flag at the protest in Cotton Tree. Photo: Patrick Woods
Leanna Hunter and Max Mellin holding the Aboriginal flag at the protest in Cotton Tree. Photo: Patrick Woods

Kabi Kabi Elder Tais K'Reala said it was good to see the support from the community.

"Over the shadows of isolation, when there is a deep cause it is clear that we are all in this together," he said.

A Sunshine Coast police spokesman said he thanked everyone at the event for making it a peaceful protest.



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