St Patrick's College year 12 student and boarder LEYTON PRIEST was asked to write a personal persuasive piece, under exam conditions, on the Black Lives Matter movement as part of his English studies. He shared this with the St Pats' community and The Courier's SHOUT program in a bid to highlight the injustices and challenges so many in the Indigenous community, including youth, all too often experience.
This is Leyton's story.
Black Lives Matter. This issue has been going on for many years now. There are many racist things going around Australia on Indigenous people because of their skin and how they live.
It's a hard thing to see my mob being killed around the streets from policemen and hearing my people being called monkeys. We are not animals we are humans just like you. Calling us monkeys because we are black is not right in our hearts. It hurts us.
When I was a kid in Darwin, about aged 10 or 12, I was walking down to a shop with my cousin. My mum was out camping so me and my cousin went down to the shop to get pizzas.
We saw this police car coming around the corner with the lights on looking for someone. My cousin and I came out of the shop with our things and started walking back home. The police went into the shop.
When we got to the other side of the street the same policeman we saw go into the shop came speeding at us and stopped us. He got out of the car and told my cousin to put his hand up and don't move.
He pointed his gun at me and told me to put my hands up. We didn't know what was going on.
My cousin asked him what we did wrong. He told us that we broke into a house. I told him that we didn't break into a house, we came from my mum's house. He said nothing and told us to put our hands behind our backs.
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My cousin said, "No, we are not doing that because we did nothing".
He said, "Yes, you did, people saw two black kids break into a house and stole some things".
My cousin told him that it wasn't us but this time the policeman put him on the ground. He told the other policeman to put me on the ground. He told us that we "are going to jail you monkeys" and he called us some other names.
When we were at the police station one of the policeman came up and said, "How does it feel like to be in a cell, you animal?"
My cousin wanted to be a policeman one day but he changed his mind because of what happened that day.
I wanted to tell you the story of what happened to me and my cousin because it had a big effect on my life.
My family never call the police or trust them because of what happened to me and my cousin.
That's why I think Black Lives Matter. Black people are getting killed from policemen for no reason and it's hard that my people are dying for no reason at all.
It's hard to explain what is the issue with us black mob, but being looked at like an animal is stupid.
Respect one another, not like animals, but like humans.
I hope my story will change your mind and that you will understand that other lives matter as well.