“It’s not just an interest, it’s my essence” – How UON Law Student Taylah Gray is Using Her Knowledge and Passion to Fight for Justice
Hollie Hughes discusses how UON Law Student, Taylah Gray, used her knowledge and passion to make a difference and fight for justice in Newcastle’s BLM Rally.
UON Law Student and Casual Academic, Taylah Gray, is paving the way for students with a desire to use their voice to fight against injustice.
Sparked by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the United States and her passion for advocating for the rights of Indigenous Australians, the 23-year-old assisted to organise and led Newcastle’s own BLM rally, leading a charge of around 1,000 people through the CBD demanding an end to Black deaths in custody and “over-policing” of the Indigenous.
Before the protest, New South Wales (NSW) Police made an application to the Supreme Court to prohibit the assembly over fears of spreading COVID-19 with NSW Police Assistant Commissioner, Max Mitchell, saying in a statement that the Newcastle protest would bring about an “unnecessary and unacceptable risk” of the virus exposure.
After hearing from both the NSW Police and Taylah, along with other members of community group, Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT), Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson authorised the protest which went ahead just a few days later.
After her win Taylah told reporters outside the court,
We’re really happy with the court’s outcome and we’re pleased that they are on the right side of history…I’m advocating for everything I am. It’s very important – it’s not just an interest of mine, it’s my essence.
Alongside members of FIIST, Taylah made full use of the court’s endorsement and delivered a passionate address in Civic Park at the commencement of the protest then assisted to lead the rally as it moved to Pacific Park.
In her powerful address, the final-year student read out a 10-point plan of action which included abolishing youth prisons and redistributing their funding to social services, opening an independent inquiry into black deaths in custody, abolishing elements of police Powers and Responsibilities legislation and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14.
For more information on the work Taylah and FIIST are doing, to show your support or to get involved see the FIIST Facebook Page and for more information on how to access resources, sign petitions or donate to the BLM movement visit https://allblm.carrd.co/.
Feature Image: Madelyn Gardiner, Yak Media Designer