31 May 2023

Prayer vigil tonight to encourage Christians to push for Indigenous justice

Common Grace’s Bianca Manning and Safina Stewart will host the Aboriginal deaths in custody prayer vigil. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

24 November 2022

A Christian organisation wants Australians to commit to action for Indigenous justice during its annual Aboriginal deaths in custody vigil.

Justice advocacy group Common Grace will ask people to pledge to speak up for raising the age of criminal responsibility, the creation of a First Nations voice to Parliament, and treaty and truth-telling processes, among other key issues.

Held online tonight, the theme for this year’s vigil is Safe, Free and Flourishing.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice coordinator Bianca Manning said the theme was about hope for Aboriginal people, and for a world and society that was free for all people.

Ms Manning said the existing justice issues, and events like the death of Aboriginal Perth teenager Cassius Turvey, indicated that not everyone was free, safe or able to flourish in modern day Australia.

Fifteen-year-old Cassius Turvey died after being assaulted as he walked home from school in October.

Ms Manning said that was why Common Grace wanted Christians to journey together with the organisation to take action on those issues.

Read more: Vicar calls for permanent state of repentance over treatment of Indigenous peoples 

The vigil will feature reflections and a song from Madi-Madi man Uncle Vince Ross, and a prayer from Aunty Rosemary Rigney from the Aboriginal community of Raukkan in South Australia.

There will also be discussions about the coronial inquest for Kumanjayi Walker, and a statement from the advocates and family of Wayne Fella Morrison whose death in custody in 2016, sparked the vigils.

Ms Manning said the observance would comprise three moments of silence, reflection and prayer, which would include a contemplation of the Aboriginal community’s grief, and prayers of hope.

She said as part of the safe, free and flourishing idea, people would be able to add their prayers into the online chat function during those moments.

“After the prayer vigil, we’re going to use those words and combine them into a collective prayer to add on our website and also to share with families of people who died in custody,” Ms Manning said.

The vigil will take place at 7.30pm AEST.

To register go to commongrace.org.au/prayervigil_deathsincustody_2022

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