The Woman stands tall, rocking her body along with the pace of a march. A call goes out in the wake of Yocke’s death for a peaceful march in Musgrave Park one morning. Thousands participate—they are not fighting, the Woman says, but grieving. She describes being in the crowd of people marching in silence. Her father, her grandmother, and her brothers and sisters are with her as helicopters circle overhead. Whenever anyone feels like fighting or yelling, the Woman says, they should instead grab that anger in their hand and hold up their grief to the world.
As the Woman describes attending the march in protest of Daniel Yocke’s death, she speaks of a feeling of solidarity and communal, collective grief which she has rarely known outside of her family. As the Woman describes having members of her family there with her, she may be speaking literally or symbolically: her actual family many not be with her, but in the presence of her community and her people, she feels surrounded by those who share her feelings, her experiences, and her grief.
The Woman describes the news reports about the march. The news called the gathering a “Defiant Aboriginal March” and a “Traffic Stopper.” No one, she says, reported such things about a “Santa Parade” that took place the week before. The Woman and her people, she states, come from a long tradition of storytelling. She hates that these are the ways their stories are told.
Though the march is cathartic and necessary for the Aboriginal community, the Woman shows how white Australians perceive demonstrations of Aboriginal suffering and discontent as inconvenient and annoying. It’s noteworthy that she draws attention to the narratives that white people construct about her community, rejecting those narratives and telling her own story (through the play) instead.
The gathering continues on to the police watchhouse nearby, where the crowd stands quietly for a time before beginning to sing, dance, play instruments, and release ritual smoke. Six thousand people pound the road together in rhythm, but they are not fighting, the Woman says—they are grieving. As police whistles ring out, the Woman raises her arms defiantly. Contradicting her earlier claim that she and her people are “not fighting,” the Woman states that she and her people spend most of their lives doing just that.
The Woman knows that, just as Daniel Yocke was racially profiled, her people at the march will also have their actions seen as suspect or agitated. She insists, however, that public grief is not a fight or a provocation—it is often the only justice available.