In the 1950’s there was strong criticism by many people of how America and South Africa treated their black people even though slavery had been abolished in 1865. In numerous countries black people still could not vote, own land or run businesses. In 1873 Slavery was outlawed in Australia. Prior to this, Aboriginal babies were taken out of Aboriginal communities away from their families and the Aboriginals were unable to save them as they had no rights, this was later referred to as the stolen generation.
Even after slavery was abolished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s did not have rights to their land. London Anti-Slavery Society threatened to bring Australia’s treatment of its Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples before the United Nations if they did not allow them land, wages and basic human rights. Martin Luther King was an amazing influence in the freedom of slavery. Martin Luther King after being sent to jail for speaking his mind, was later released and even later honoured for speaking up for black people and fighting for their rights against slavery.
Australia and New Zealand are part of the United Nations and the Countries that are part of the United Nations must uphold Human Rights. Basic human rights consist of being able to own land, work, vote an be free from discrimination. These governing arrangements are to protect all people, black, white, male, female or other, marital status and land.
Martin Luther King influenced the population around fighting for black people’s rights. Martin Luther King lobbied governments, business and all types of people to stand up for the rights of every person in the world. Martin Luther King wanted freedom for all. When Human Rights activists lobbied for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights along with the freedom of slavery acts, the government stood up and listened. People could see that what the white people did to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community was inhuman and lobbied to government to have the legislation changed. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came out in 1948 and also some countries did not agree to sign it, a large amount did including Australia. These rights are fundamentally critical for a peaceful future. The voice of the people is finally being heard; we can vote who we want to run our country.
On February 13th 2008, Kevin Rudd – Priminister formally apologised to the Aboriginal people for the stolen generation. Even though there is public awareness and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have equal rights, in some States and towns in Australia like, Northern Territory and Western Australia, blacks are still outcast and are not allowed in some places. Australia and the Western World have come along way in equality for all people, but we still have a long way to go to build relationships with our indigenous peoples and learn their traditions and cultures. The power of the people was used in Martin Luther King’s era and still used in modern times to change the policies of government. There are many strong influences that we can still see in our own legal system. We vote and it is the vote or voice of the people that elect who leads us. Mahatma Ghandi was noted as having influenced Martin Luther King to make big changes for the glory of the people. This shows that people can change government policy.
What happened to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was horrific and is scary to think this can happen to human beings. We can’t change the past, but we can influence the future as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi have done. Every person no mater race, colour, wealth and health, we all have the right to live, to eat, to work, to buy, to travel, to help and to give and if everyone gets together their voices will be heard.
From the beginning of time there have been leaders that could influence change from Jesus to Buddha, Caesar to Napoleon, all strong leader able to influence hundreds of people. Everyone can make a difference especially if you are fighting for the same thing ‘Freedom’. We are lucky in Australia to have the amazing country and freedom for our people but it wasn’t always that way, wars have been fought, lives lost which is a cost to our freedom so we can never forget the past because it is what has made our lives and our future.