Podcast episodeCover image for of Black Lives Matter: In Conversation

The Wheeler Centre

Black Lives Matter: In Conversation  /  Race & multiculturalism

In February 2012, an unarmed African-American high-school student, Trayvon Martin, was shot dead in Sanford, Florida. His death was a flashpoint in American race relations, sparking protests across the United States and the beginning of a totally new kind of civil-rights movement: #blacklivesmatter.

Left to right: Jack Latimore, Patrisse Cullors and Rodney Diverlus — Photo: Jon Tjhia

The movement – founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza – fights for justice and dignity for black people. Diffuse, inclusive and multifaceted, #blacklivesmatter has built momentum online and, crucially, on the ground. Its activists have enjoyed wins in court rooms, in the media, on the streets and in Barack Obama’s White House. The message has resonated across the globe, with large turnouts for rallies not just across the US but also in Brazil, Australia, South Africa and other countries.

In Australia to collect the Sydney Peace Prize, two of Black Lives Matter’s founders and leaders – Cullors, and Toronto BLM Chapter co-founder Rodney Diverlus – talk with Jack Latimore about the achievements and broader goals of #blacklivesmatter … and how we can translate the lessons of the movement to face and fight entrenched inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia (with whom they've spent significant amounts of time ahead of this conversation).

Among other topics, they discuss the importance of sustained activism, inclusive and nuanced ideas of 'blackness', and an empowering movement unconstrained by national borders or charismatic leadership.

(Note: This podcast episode contains a discussion of online abuse, which includes strong language.)

Alicia Garza on Black Lives Matter Watch

Due to illness, Alicia Garza was unable to join us for this event. In lieu of her appearance, she recorded a short video message covering some of her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, and explaining why looking after one's health is important to organisers.

Photo: Jon Tjhia

Podcast episodeCover image for of #9 Freedom Is Not Free

The Messenger

9 Freedom Is Not Free  /  Biography & memoir

Abdul Aziz Muhamat and Michael Green on Manus Island — (Photo: Behrouz Boochani)

'Freedom is not free. You have to pay for it. And we pay; now we are paying for our freedoms.'

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Just before Christmas of 2016, Aziz is transferred to Port Moresby for knee surgery. With better phone reception, Michael and Aziz share a long phone call in which they reflect on the year that’s ending, the holiday season and the months since they met face to face on Manus Island.

The change in Aziz’s circumstances is only temporary, but it’s still a change – and the call feels like a rare break in the clouds. But just two days later – on Christmas Day – Michael hears news that Aziz’s friend and fellow Sudanese detainee, Faysal Ishak Ahmed, has died.


A transcript of this episode is coming soon.

In this episode

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Michael Green

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode includes ‘Passage’ by Oren Ambarchi, ‘We Let the “S” Hang in the Air’ by Brokeback, ‘Pulcinella’ by Kazumasa Hashimoto, ‘How Now (1968) for Piano’ by Philip Glass, ‘Meditation’ by Lori Scacco, ‘Waltz for Aidan’ by Mogwai, ‘Mandarinerna’ by Kim Hiorthøy, ‘Future Light’ by Nick Huggins, ‘Non Song’ by To Rococo Rot, ‘Momento’ by Murcof, ‘Initial Gesture Protraction’ by Tortoise, ‘Trace’ by Rhythm&Sound, ‘Under the Roof’ by Colleen and ‘I Found the End’ by Broadcast.

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. It’s produced by Michael Green, André Dao, Hannah Reich and Bec Fary, with Jon Tjhia and Sophie Black at the Wheeler Centre.

Narration by Michael Green. With reporting by Abdul Aziz Muhamat. Additional fact checking by the Guardian's Ben Doherty; transcription by Claire McGregor, Carolyn Turner, Eugenia Zoubtchenko and many more​. This episode was edited and mixed by Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

Dana Affleck, Angelica Neville and Sienna Merope. Also to Behind the Wire’s many participants and volunteers. Behind the Wire is supported by the Bertha Foundation.

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