On 6 July 2016 Philando Castile was shot in front of his family in his car.  The next day at a peaceful #blacklivesmatter rally 5 policemen were shot by a sniper. The next day as I walked to the train station  I discovered this abhorrent graffiti in Leeds St across the pavement and shop fronts… from Minnesota to Texas to Australia in three days. A hand reaching out from the US all the way to Footscray and I feel cold and unsafe: We don’t want that violence here. We don’t want that hate here. That will not and should not touch my home.



Being one of those interfering women –I ask of myself, “Right, what can I do about this…” I took photos on my phone and sent then to the City Council and my local police station asking them to clean it up.  Ours is a multicultural, multifaith, mostly safe neighbourhood and I don’t want anyone’s propaganda creating an environment of fear or unrest in the place/space that is my home for myself or others… Yes #blacklivesmatter. All lives matter.

What else is there to do? Cleaning up graffiti is managing the symptoms but what about the root cause? Using violence to solve our problems doesn’t seem to be working… Animosity seems to breed animosity.  The right to bear arms doesn’t seem to make the world more safer just increase our odds of dying by getting shot.  Led by our fear… Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never... That’s patently untrue. And these words hurt.  What does it mean for this to be written on our streets and on our walls?  Do people really understand how far-reaching their choices, their words, their actions are?

This sort of a call to violent action is an anathema to me (I looked that up, it means: a detested thing) it felt like a violation (I looked that up to, it means: to disregard/treat profanely/break in upon-disturb/sexual assault). This impacted my sense of home and feeling safe matters. Having a sense of home matters. We are making the world we live in. Do people understand that? You are making the world we live in. Do you understand that?

I have delayed this post because I wanted some amazing idea. An everyday person makes a choice in a moment there, what choice can I make in a moment here? Something I could do that might have impact here that sent ripples just as far-reaching back the other way but, funnily enough, I couldn’t fix world peace this month.  I intend to keep thinking about it though and asking of myself: “what can I do?”

In the meantime, I will keep walking in my neighbourhood. I will keep reading the word on the street and even though I haven’t done anything and nothing’s changed, and although I can’t really explain why, I have a feeling it’s going to be ok.