PAST EVENT: Never Again - Memorial for Liep Gony
September 26, 2020 at 12:30pm - 2pm.
Steps of Victorian Parliament, Spring St, CBD
On the 26th September 2007, 19 year-old Liep Gony was beaten to death in a racially-motivated attack that followed a political scare campaign hauntingly familiar to what we are seeing now.
His family are heartbroken to see the same divisive political rhetoric being used again. To mark the 11th anniversary of Liep's death, they asked us to join them and the African-Australian community on 26 September 2018 to stand as one, and say never again to the violence that killed Liep.
Thank you to everyone who came and showed their support for Liep's family and the entire African-Australian community on the steps of Victorian Parliament in Melbourne.
Led by African-Australian choirs, we sang together and heard speeches from family members, then lay flowers and other items on the stairs of Parliament. People brought items that reminded you of someone you have lost, as a way of demonstrating the shared human experiences of grief, love and hope that bind us together.
Liep was known for his immense generosity, his kind and peaceful nature, and his love of basketball. A role model to his younger siblings and cousins, Liep went above and beyond to help family. He was a peacemaker, often praised by teachers and sports coaches for his role in persuading other kids to avoid conflict. Having lived in a refugee camp when young, Liep knew firsthand about how tough life is for so many, and counted himself lucky. After his death, his mother discovered that, throughout his time at high school, he had been quietly sending off some of the pocket money he earned from odd jobs to a little girl he sponsored through World Vision.
Liep was deeply loved by his family and community. Everyone felt the pain of his death.
But this is not the Liep that the media or politicians wanted us to know about.
The political context at the time of Liep’s murder was similar to the political context in 2018. Prominent politicians and the media had been racialising crime, and connecting it to African migrants. Following his murder, Gony’s death was politicised by the federal government, and blamed on the African community, rather than the two white men who had beaten him.
Liep's death shows the devastating consequences that these self-interested political games have on the real lives of the people targeted.
After over a decade of grieving for their loss, the Gony family have been heartbroken to see the same thing happening again, with tabloids and politicians whipping up fear by singling out one group in the community and telling everyone else to fear them. They do not want another family to go through what they've been through. And they are ready to speak out.
On September 26th we showed the Gony family and the whole African-Australian community that we will not allow cheap political rhetoric to divide us.
This was a peaceful event and is not about blaming individuals, but about how we move forward and saying never again to the violence that killed Liep.
**Note: The Federation is posting this event on behalf of Liep's family. Sadly, family members have previously been targeted by abusive trolls. We will be monitoring this event and reporting any threatening commentary to Victoria Police.