Around the time of the Sydney Lindt café siege at Christmas last year I spent hours online - doing a kind of double-take, feeling affected by an adrenalin rush of concern, but also looking at the way the story was reported. Feeling at once close, and far.
Something similar is happening now following the media reports of violence against African-Americans in the U.S I feel deeply affected by it but also think that the sheer number of stories (and brutality) might bring about social change.
Police violence against Aborigines and other minorities in Australia is no secret. (See here, for instance, Chloe Hooper's impressive work on the death of an Aboriginal man, Cameron Doomadgee, in police custody on Palm Island published as The Tall Man in 2009).
But even in Australia - a country that had genocidal government policy until the 1960s where part-Aboriginal children were taken from their parents; a policy that was also seen to be inevitable in the popular mind (my mother recalled how she was told the myth of how Aborigines were just 'dying out' and the government needed to 'smooth the pillow...') even in Australia - well, it's a different planet to what's going on in the U.S now.
When trying to find out how to donate to Black Lives Matter , I came across an article from CNN politics on the activism that has emerged to confront what one leader describes as the civil rights issue of this generation.
See Dream Defenders in Florida, or Let us Breathe Fund described as an organisation that 'priveleges Black-led and allied organizing of communities, directly impacted by 'broken windows' policing, poverty and injustice in New York City.'
For more examples of groups in Ferguson, in Baltimore ... have a look at the CNN article and if you want to support their work, go to the 'donate' part of each site.