Gemini Season 2020 and hard conversations

“Divine Devolution” by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill, who turned to art as a way to process her grief of being forcibly taken from her mother in Western Australia’s Pilbara region when she was 6 years old. She later suffered years of abuse and neglect in a children’s home before moving into foster care. Find out more about her story here.

2020 is a charged year, and even the simple movement of the Sun through the signs is offering potent understandings of each sign. A long-overdue and serious conversation was sparked this Gemini season, and we have learned that communication has to go two ways. A few decades back, my first subject in my counselling course delivered a series of huge wakeup calls from the subject – effective communication. I suddenly realised that listening is as important as speaking, and the simple act of hearing another’s truth can bring so much healing. I also recognised how powerful silence can be when wielded with the right intent. The dual nature of Gemini asks that we receive as much as we transmit, and now our eyes are being opened to centuries of injustice and trauma of fellow humans, given this treatment solely due to the colour of their skin, what are we going to do with the information? This year we’ve hopefully learned to listen hard, open our hearts and prepared to create change. I am also learning about silence and how to translate that – when silence allows space for the truth of others and when is it blocking their story. The dual nature of Gemini asks that we receive as much as we transmit, and now our eyes are being opened to centuries of injustice and trauma of fellow humans, given this treatment solely due to the colour of their skin, what are we going to do with the information?

I have been quiet myself for the last few weeks about this topic, weighing if my white voice was needed right now. Some black people asked for our silence so their voices could ring out louder. Others asked for us to pass on their messages, so they could travel further and faster. I wondered if I should share deeply personal experiences of racism when standing beside my husband and all he has faced due to his culture and heritage; but that is not my story to tell. I questioned if I should speak of how my first travels in USA and UK woke me up to how entrenched racism is in white-dominated societies; or heartbreaking experiences I heard and witnessed from Indigenous Australians when working in NGOs. But it felt shallow considering the painful stories coming straight from Indigenous and black communities right now.

Preaching won’t help right now either, as each of us is at a different stage of facing this damaging system we’ve all been born into. Some are just now seeing the structure for what it is, while others are now listening to learn all they can and know how to act next. More of us are searching for the weak points to deliver devastating blows, and yet others are still hammering away like they have been for years, and hopefully energised by the changes finally happening. Their calls for freedom are not new, and their voices are tired and hoarse from years of trying to be heard but they are finally getting the platform they deserve. I honour the strength and courage of those who have shouted in the wilderness for years about inequity and oppression for black people and PoC in our white society.

At a recent BLM protest I swore to be a black ally, and to have the hard conversations that contribute to a more equal and equitable society. So I’m going to do a classic Gemini activity and share information and knowledge I’ve been collecting over recent years and weeks. Firstly, I invite everyone to check in on your own unconscious racial biases using Project Implicit – an online tool created by scientists at the University of Washington, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia. Please be gentle yet firm with the result – gentle with yourself in recognition that it is the effect of society and culture, yet firm in the stand against what you now recognise lives inside you. Books such as “How to Be an Antiracist” and “White Fragility” also help us all understand ourselves and the system of white privilege better so we know how to dismantle it properly… don’t they say “knowing the face of the enemy is half the battle”?

For those in Australia wanting to know more and do more to ally with Indigenous Australians, I invite you to:

  • Actively look on social media for Indigenous voices to follow and listen to, and interact with their posts regularly so they stay in your feed… don’t let algorithms allow their voices to fade off your screens.
  • Purchase products and services from Indigenous organisations, some I wholeheartedly endorse include Bangarra Dance, Tjanpi Desert Weavers and AIME (especially their awesome “this hoodie pays rent” hoodie).
  • Donate to organisations making a difference in Indigenous communities, including Red Dust Healing, AIME Mentoring, Aboriginal Legal Service (search Google for the one in your state) and Cathy Freeman Foundation.
  • Follow ABC’s Indigenous news channel
  • See other ways to practically support Aboriginal Lives Matter here
  • Read books on Indigenous history and from Indigenous writers such as “Black Politics”, “Dark Emu”, “Talking to My Country”, “Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia” and any of Thomas Kennelly’s “Australians” series.
  • Add books about Indigenous Australians and their culture to your children’s bookshelf, some favourites we have are “My Country”, “Two Mates”, “Brother Moon” and “Tom Tom
  • Become an Indigenous ally by talking about what you know and understand about white privilege, and having the courage to have the hard conversations that challenge the thinking of other who may be unaware of their racism.

For those in the US, I know much less but here are a few great people and organisations I’ve come across that you might like to add to your list:

Finally, as this season closes, let’s not let the conversation close with it. Black lives matter, and need to matter always. Centuries of oppression, racism and trauma will not be solved in a month, or perhaps a year. The question is, can any of us be free if not all humans are free?

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