A nine-year-old boy who touched millions of hearts around the world comes from a long line of Australian Aboriginal activists.
Celebrities lined up to throw their support behind Quaden Bayles after his mother posted a video of him begging for rope to kill himself over bullying at school.
Quaden, who was born with dwarfism, drew attention with his plight to bullying against disabled kids as well as the high rate of indigenous suicide.
His sudden global fame could be a boon to the activism of his outspoken family who have spent generations advocating for Aboriginal issues.
Quaden’s sudden global fame could be a boon to the activism of his outspoken family (pictured with his mother Yarraka) who have spent generations advocating for Aboriginal issues
Quaden’s grandfather and great-grandmother were prominent indigenous rights campaigners Tiga Bayles and ‘Aunty Maureen’ Watson.
Activism is in his blood so much that at just eight he was already speaking out against policies of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
‘If the Queen is watching me right now, you’re racist,’ Quaden said in a video uploaded on his mother Yarraka’s Facebook account two months ago.
‘And if you are too Scott Morris [sic], go to your own country and do whatever you want, because you did not come here first.’
Quaden, who was eight when the video was filmed, addressed the nation’s leader directly, calling him as ‘ScoMo’ throughout and asking ‘what are you going to do about it?’
A video, which was filmed more than two months ago, emerged over the weekend showing the Indigenous Australian schoolboy telling Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ‘go back to your own country’
‘What? What are you going to do about it, huh? Huh ScoMo? What? You’re just so racist you hate black people you can’t even say it on the TV.
‘How about you come to one of our marches and see how you feel seeing all these black people die. How do you like that, ScoMo? I bet you won’t.’
Quaden more recently encouraged others to stand up for themselves when face-to-face with a bully.
Quaden’s activist bloodline
Great-grandmother: ‘Aunty Maureen’ Watson, a renowned actor, singer, writer, and musician who was arrested three times at Aboriginal rights protests.
Grandfather: Indigenous broadcaster, land rights councillor, and protest organiser Tiga Bayles.
Mother: Yarraka Bayles, who added disability advocacy to her causes after Quaden was diagnosed with dwarfism.
Sister: Model and budding Aboriginal rights activist Guyala Bayles, 20, who has been outspoken on Australia Day.
‘If you get bullied, just stand up for yourself and don’t listen to what they say,’ he said.
‘Parents should make their kids be nice to people with disabilities.’
Mr Bayles was a leading figure in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and Sydney’s 1988 Bicentennial protests.
He was at the forefront of campaigning the view that Australia’s settlement was an invasion not to be celebrated, with led to today’s effort to change the date of Australia Day.
Along with leading rallies and campaigning for indigenous land rights, he was a renowned radio host and founded Radio Redfern, now known as Koori Radio.
The station was a hub for coordinating political protests against the Bicentennial, and Aboriginal deaths in custody in the early 1990s.
He trained numerous Aboriginal broadcasters and promoted greater understanding of indigenous issues among non-Aboriginal radio hosts.
Quaden with his sister Guyala, 20, a model and budding Aboriginal rights activist
Mr Bayles died of cancer on April 17, 2016, aged 62.
Ms Watson was a renowned actor, singer, writer, and musician who was also prominent in the Commonwealth Games protests, getting arrested three times.
She wrote numerous works of poetry and theatre, winning the UN Global Leadership Prize in 1996 and was a regular on her son’s radio programs.
Ms Watson, trained in neuro-linguistic programming, was also a counsellor for women behind bars.
Mr Bayles often cited the influence of his mother in helping inspire him to fight for the Aboriginal community.
Quaden’s mother Yarraka Bayles likewise drew her inspiration from her father with her own activism, which expanded to disability issues after her son’s diagnosis.
‘People don’t understand that if you’re indigenous, you’re already copping discrimination and racism,’ she said last week.
Quaden with his family in front of a mural in Margate, Brisbane, depicting his great-grandmother ‘Aunty Maureen’ Watson and grandfather Tiga Bayles
Quaden’s grandfather and great-grandmother were prominent indigenous rights campaigners Tiga Bayles and ‘Aunty Maureen’ Watson
Quaden’s great-grandmother was ‘Aunty Maureen’ Watson, a renowned actor, singer, writer, and musician who was also prominent in the Commonwealth Games protests, getting arrested three times
Tiga Bayles, his grandfather, was an indigenous broadcaster, land rights councillor, and organiser for the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and Sydney’s 1988 Bicentennial protests
She has previously spoken about the high rate of indigenous suicide and how her people have a life expectancy 15 years lower than white Australians.
Quaden’s sister Guyala has also followed in her family’s footsteps, using her modelling career and now Quaden’s fame to fight for Aboriginal issues.
‘My motivation comes from my grandfather and my grandmother, Tiga Bayles and his mother Maureen Watson,’ she told NITV on Australia Day 2016.
‘They raised me and were telling me to be a little activist, so yeah they are my little motivation.’
Then just a 17-year-old Year 12 student, Guyala said she wanted white Australians to realise they lived in a ‘stolen county’.
‘The white fellas come here and they just think they own everything, and I want people to know that just because we’re black doesn’t mean that we drink, or we are thieves.
‘There’s actually a lot of black fullas out there that are doing good in life.’
Quaden’s sister Guyala has also followed in her family’s footsteps, using her modelling career and now Quaden’s fame to fight for Aboriginal issues
Guyala, 20, said she had faced racism when trying to break into the modelling industry, and was even advised to not mention her indigenous heritage
Guyala, 20, said she had faced racism when trying to break into the modelling industry, and was even advised to not mention her indigenous heritage.
Once she made it, she said Quaden, then four years old, was a little jealous.
‘He goes to me ‘oh, are you going to be famous now, sis?’ like, a bit put out, ‘cos he really likes being the centre of attention, you know,’ she told the Saturday Paper.
Quaden kicked off an outpouring of support when Ms Bayles shared a distressing video after picking her son up from school last Wednesday.
The schoolboy, who has achondroplasia – the most common type of dwarfism – told his mother: ‘Give me a rope, I want to kill myself… I just want to stab myself in the heart… I want someone to kill me’
He also scratched at his neck saying: ‘I want to die… I want to scratch myself.’
Joel Thompson, the Indigenous All-Stars captain, leads the team onto the field with nine-year-old Quaden at CBUS stadium on the Gold Coast
Quaden is pictured with NRL star Latrell Mitchell. The nine-year-old will lead the Indigenous All Stars NRL team onto the pitch on Saturday
In response, a fundraiser by U.S. comedian Brad Williams to send Quaden to Disneyland collected a staggering US$466,000 (AUD$700,000).
NBA team the Houston Rockets also offered him courtside seats at a game while he in is the U.S.
‘Cool shirt, Quaden! We’re on your team. We’d like to invite you to Houston to come to a game when you visit the U.S,’ the team posted, along with a photo of Quaden wearing a Houston Rockets t-shirt.
Money left over after the trip will be donated to anti-bullying charities, Williams said.
Quaden attended camp with the Indigenous team ahead of the NRL All-Stars game on Saturday night, and walked onto the field with the players.
Numerous other celebrities also felt compelled to publicly defend the schoolboy, including Hugh Jackman, Johnathan Thurston, Cardi B and Piers Morgan.
Source: Daily Mail – Articles