A tough watch

I knew it would be a tough watch.

A recent episode of ABC’s Australian Story program featured the work of Mechelle Turvey, mother of Cassius Turvey – the 15 year old Aboriginal boy who was slain in 2022.

Cassius was the victim of a senseless, unprovoked, racist attack in Western Australia. His death shocked all of Australia and resulted in nationwide vigils and rallies (Wikipedia). As a father myself of Aboriginal boys of the same age, I clearly remember the story rocking me to my core.

The timing of this episode was sadly poignant. In a fresh story also out of Western Australia (this time Broome), video footage had gone viral of a tradesman that had used cable ties to handcuff and shackle three young Aboriginal siblings together. The three kids – ages 6, 7, and 8 – were restrained for almost an hour in the 33 degree Summer heat. The kids are seen in the recording screaming for their Mum and wanting water. And why did the guy feel the need to intervene and assault these children? He found them trespassing in the neighbour’s pool.

Against that emotional backdrop, I watched this episode, mostly bawling my eyes out.

Like most Australian Stories it was amazing.

I had heard that Mechelle Turvey took a very peaceful position when the protests began in Cassius’s name. There were definitely forces rising across the Nation which wanted revenge and worse. “Mama’s on a Mission“, as they titled it, shows just how incredibly warm and positive her response became, to ease those tensions.

Mechelle is inspiring, and a very worthy recipient of WA’s Australian Of The Year. She has even gone on to teach empathy to the Western Australian police force in an ongoing role. This is just remarkable, given some of their ineptitude they showed in dealing with the Aboriginal community.

There’s no way I can even fathom that amount of grief, let alone come through it with something positive and helpful. We also learned more about Cassius, and how he continues to inspire through his memory and the legacy his beautiful Mum honours.

Although it was tough to watch and hear about this episode again, I think it adds some important positivity to some terribly negative stories of racial violence, which is sadly not yet a thing of the past for Australia.