Looking At The Cassius Turvey Story In Light Of Recent Events
Cassius Turvey could do anything he set his mind to. Now, despite the pain, his family is fighting to ensure that their son's story is not forgotten.
This cannot be allowed to continue.
They are the words echoed by the Turvey family as they struggle to make sense of what happened to their son.
Cassius Turvey, a Noongar-Yamatji child, was only 15 years old when his life was sadly cut short on October 23.
Cassius was viciously assaulted on the streets of Midland, allegedly by a 21-year-old white male and two others, and eventually died as a result of his injuries.
Mechelle Turvey, his mother, has heroically kept her son's name public so that everyone knows she wants justice for him.
Cassius was described as a selfless and hardworking young man who enjoyed the variety of life. He enjoyed playing basketball with his pals, fishing, going to the youth center, and watching TV on his Playstation 4.
"He enjoyed school and had a lot of enthusiasm... "He just didn't enjoy physical education," Ms Turvey said.
Cassius' story received little attention in the media at the time of the incident.
The matter only became public after his family took the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support.
It's difficult not to draw parallels between Cassius' case and that of Cleo Smith, where the media was eager to cover it and state leaders went above and above to assure her safe return.
"I believe before this happened with our boy, we used to remark amongst ourselves, 'now if it wasn't a black kid, there would have been more focus on it,'" Ms Turvey explained.
"There appears to be a quick inquiry or search for missing Aboriginal people."
Ms Turvey cited the case of two Aboriginal boys from South Australia whose disappearance was only made public three days after they went missing.
This is a much too regular pattern when dealing with Indigenous people, leaving the community to fight for justice on their own.
The hashtag #JusticeforCassius has been trending on social media and has a sizable Facebook following.
Ms Turvey hopes Cassius' story will not fade from the news as the hashtag continues to spread.
"There's been a great push with (social) media, which I believe has gotten the cops more motivated in terms of challenging questions, also with the hospital, parliament...things like that," she explained.
Mechelle and Cassius Turvey | SUPPLIED BY THE TURVEY FAMILY TO ABC NEWS
Cassius at an early age
The Turvey family has garnered widespread support in the last week, with the Indigenous community in particular rallying to their cause.
"It's crazy; I just got 200 friend requests, and that's because people want to give me messages," Ms Turvey explained.
"To be honest, I hardly know those folks, and it is really beautiful."
"Then I discovered another hidden page with 50 more."
Many Indigenous people working for justice believe they have been given a foundation but lack the resources to build on it and see it through.
It's a never-ending loop that Ms Turvey characterizes as a "racist rollercoaster."
"Let's face it, Aboriginal issues are everybody's issues," she remarked.
Robyn Turvey, Turvey's sister, also spoke on the matter.
"When things like this happen here with Aboriginal situations like Cassie , it's just our community screams," she explained.
"That's all I can hear; all I can hear is our community yelling for justice."
Cassius' family is sick of hearing about beatings, deaths, and police failing to take Indigenous concerns seriously.
"We are exhausted as black people, Aboriginal people, Noongar, Yamatji, and I am tired of fighting the fight," Robyn Turvey remarked.
Cassius was attacked, but he was not the only victim in this story.
His mother wants everyone to know.
Cassius' pals who were with him that day have been dealing with the death of a close buddy.
"I make a point of including the stories of the other lads who were present during the incident," Ms Turvey added.
"One I had at my house last night was totally traumatized, and he's (emotionally) distant."
Cassius' pals have kept close since the incident, not wanting to be apart after what they went through.
Since Cassius was hospitalized, the lads have demonstrated their respect and dedication to him by using public transportation to see him every day.
They were also by his side when his family made the heartbreaking decision to remove his life support.
Cassius Turvey had a promising future ahead of him; he was scheduled to begin his first job at Kmart last weekend.
"He's wanted to work since he was thirteen," Ms Turvey explained.
"I've been telling him that he won't be able to work for another two years."
Instead, Cassius launched his own lawnmowing business with two friends, working for neighbors.
They were known as The Lawn Mower Boys.
They took their job seriously and had regular clientele.
When it came to money, Cassius informed his clients, 'that's up to you to place a price on it, not me.'
"People might ask why you're doing this, but it's fantastic that you're doing it," Ms Turvey said.
"And they'd say, 'We just want to show you that we're not nasty; we simply want to help out.'"
Cassius was also excited to attend a school celebration at Roy Hill, but he was in the hospital at the time. His mother had to call the school to inform them that he would be unable to attend. Cassius was heartbroken.
On October 31, a candlelight vigil will be held at Farral Oval in Stratton in memory of Cassius.
Cassius adored Halloween and dressing up, and the Turveys invite anyone who want to attend to do so in their best costume.
"He loved getting dressed up and going out," Ms Turvey said.
"I want everyone to come out and celebrate his life."
The family has also created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.
"It's been really beautiful, the messages people have left," Ms Turvey said of the page.
"A lot of people didn't even know him, but they're just so moved by his story."
Ms Turvey has one final message for those who continue to harm Aboriginal people.
"You might think you're getting away with it, but you're not," she said.
"I want people to know that Aboriginal people are strong; we will fight for our rights and justice."
The history of aborigine people and racism
Aboriginal people have been living in Australia for over 65,000 years, making them the world’s oldest civilization. The first contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans was when Captain Cook landed on the east coast of Australia in 1770. In the early days of settlement, there were friendly relations between the two groups, but this changed when more and more Europeans arrived and started to move inland. The new settlers brought with them diseases that the Aboriginal people had no immunity to, which led to many deaths. They also started to clear the land for farming, which led to conflict as the Aboriginal people were displaced from their traditional hunting grounds.
The situation was made worse by the fact that the British regarded the Aboriginal people as savages and less than human. This attitude was reflected in the law, which allowed settlers to kill Aboriginal people with impunity. In 1838, Governor Sir George Gipps declared that “it shall not be lawful to shoot at or destroy any Aborigine of New South Wales”, but this declaration was not enforced and the killings continued. In 1868, after years of campaigning by Aboriginal rights activists, an Act was finally passed making it a criminal offence to kill an Aboriginal person in NSW.
Despite this, the violence continued and in some cases even intensified. In the early 1900s, there was a government policy of forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families, in an attempt to ‘assimilate’ them into white society. This policy, known as the ‘Stolen Generations’, caused great hardship and suffering for Aboriginal people. In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the history of Aboriginal people and the racism they have experienced.
This has led to a movement for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.