USE your minds, and not your fists, in the fight for equality and justice.
Education will be your superpower - that was the message to more than four hundred people, from babies in prams to grandparents, from Black Lives Matter rally organiser Latoya Smith.
Port Macquarie-Hastings marchers joined tens of thousands of people across the country today (June 6) to walk in solidarity and call for justice over Aboriginal deaths in custody. Since the 1991 Royal Commission, 432 Aboriginal lives have been lost and less than one third of the recommendations have been implemented.
The Australians rallies were prompted over the death of African-American man George Floyd in the US and the movement, Black Lives Matter, that followed.
Use your education to make a difference in this world.Latoya Smith
The walk was peaceful but powerful. Despite a barrage of racial abuse online, not one person opposing the rally attended and stood in their way.
People lined the Port Macquarie breakwall and offered encouragement and support.
There was no need for a police presence and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in a show of support, raised the Aboriginal flag.
"In Australia we have the highest incarceration rates, the lowest education levels of year 12 students in our country, we also have the highest rate of health conditions with chronic disease and the lowest life expectancies. And for 10 years the government has been trying to fix it," Layota said.
"And where are we? We're still standing here at this moment, wanting to come together to make something different.
"When I go to court, I am sick and tired of seeing my brothers and sisters in handcuffs at the courthouse. I am over that. I am over that some people in that courthouse don't get the same justice."
The walk commenced at the Town Beach skate park where a statement by the family of the late David Dungay Jr, an indigenous man who died in police custody, was read.
In 2015, Dungay died in Sydney's Long Bay prison hospital after a struggle with guards in his cell over a packet of biscuits.
A coronial inquest into Dungay's death found the five prison officers were not motivated by malicious intent and were cleared of any wrong-doing.
Footage played during the inquest showed Mr Dungay repeatedly screaming "I can't breathe" to which one officer replied: "You're talking, you can breathe."
"I ask everybody to stand as one. To all come together and to use your education to make a difference in this world. The powerful thing is, if we speak up and don't use our fists to make that happen, our brains and our knowledge and our education is the key to success in this country.
Stay in school, educate yourselves - this is where we win the battle. Our fists don't, our minds do.Latoya Smith
"Black lives matter, and do does everybody else, but our black lives need that extra push to ensure that justice is coming.
"This is where we stand and this is where we make things right. It starts in our own back yard right here, right now.
"It's the powerful way, it's the only way. Don't be afraid to speak up and if you are, you come and see me.
"Stay in school, educate yourselves - this is where we win the battle. Our fists don't, our minds do."
All 432 names of Aboriginal people who have died in custody since 1991 were spoken to the silent crowd.
A petition is now open calling for charges to be laid over the death of 26-year-old Dungay and the implementation of all 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
A petition is also open calling for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to remove the Sir Edmund Barton statue from Port Macquarie's Town Green.
Council commissioned the sculpture from renowned artist Carl Merten in recognition of Barton - Australia's first prime minister - as part of the centenary of federation celebrations.
For many First Nations people, Barton represents racist ideologies and the statue's position on a traditional Birpai burial site considered offensive.