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FOUR CORNERS: I Can't Breathe  

[by Paul Akkermans]

Stan Grant. Image: supplied

I can’t breathe: “This is what history sounds like to us.”

 

“This is not a story for me, it is my life. I don’t get to turn away from this. To not care is not an option because I live in a world where race and racism can suffocate us.”  Stan Grant

 

On Monday Four Corners brings you a searing and profoundly moving story from special guest reporter Stan Grant in the wake of the shocking killing of unarmed black man George Floyd captured on camera in the United States.

 

“There in that moment he became every black life. There captured on video was every person enslaved…Every nameless faceless person who were told their lives did not matter.”  Stan Grant

 

Mr Floyd’s death under the knee of a white police officer unleashed a wave of grief and anger across America.   That wave reached Australia’s shores with thousands of Australians coming out to protest in support of our Indigenous community.

 

“This is not something we import from America – it is a struggle we share with black America.”  Stan Grant

 

In this deeply personal story, Stan Grant gives voice to the frustration and hurt that has defined the life experience of so many Indigenous Australians and explores why the death of George Floyd resonates so profoundly.

 

“People always say to us, ‘Why are you so angry? Why are you so bitter?’ If they knew what our people had been through, they might just ask why we are not more angry. Why we are not more bitter.”  Stan Grant

 

He talks with candour about his family’s painful history and his fears for their future.

 

“This is my mother and my father. This is all of my family who have come before me. This is my children who will live in a world that we did not make, but a world that they have to survive, and I have to teach them how to survive this world.”  Stan Grant

 

In this confronting program, other Aboriginal Australians talk of their experiences with authority and government that have left them feeling like second class citizens.

 

“Aboriginal people here are at war every day. We're at war with the system. We're at war with the police. We're at war with statistics.  But you want us just to move on from that.”  Youth Justice Worker

 

Along with anger there is also a deep well spring of sadness.

 

“That people should continue to think for some reason that they're better or superior than somebody else because of their race…That brings you down and makes you sad. It hurts mate, it hurts.”  Singer

 

Stan also speaks to leading intellectual and creative thinkers in America, including the revered civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.

 

“We will keep our hopes alive. We will not surrender our hope. We will not surrender our hope. We will keep hope alive.”  Rev. Jesse Jackson

 

This is an unmissable Four Corners with a direct message for Australia, on behalf of our Indigenous community.

 

"I want to be heard. I am here. I am a human being. See me." Stan Grant

 

I can’t breathe, reported by Stan Grant, goes to air on Monday 13th July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 14th July at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iView and at abc.net.au/4corners.

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