Powerful protests in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black Americans continue across the nation, with calls for reform and restitution in the face of police brutality. For many, the past week has served as a swift call to action both on the streets of major cities and at home. For a variety of valid reasons, not everyone may be able to attend a protest in person, but there are still plenty of ways to demand change and aid those in the march for racial justice. Here are a few ideas to get started:
On-the-ground protestors can benefit from supplies like water bottles, snacks, hand sanitizer, ear buds, and eyewear, in addition to face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If you can’t physically provide these, consider donating to local organizations or creators that will — which leads into our next point . . .
Many nonprofits and organizations work nonstop to support the families of slain Black Americans, as well as aid protestors with necessary resources, like bail fund, to continue their fight against injustice. If you are in a position to donate, check out this list of nationwide and local organizations that can use your help.
You don’t have to leave your house to participate in a peaceful protest. For example, Bernice King (daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.) is holding an online protest every day this week to give people a virtual space to speak out. Another online protest will take place on Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m. ET to remember Breonna Taylor.
Your name holds so much power. You can show solidarity toward movements and organizations, or demand justice simply by signing a petition or sending a text. A 15-year-old from Oregon set up a Change.org petition to get the officers involved in George Floyd’s death charged for their crimes. It became the biggest in the site’s history. You can also text FLOYD to 55156 to sign Color of Change’s petition or sign the Justice for George Floyd petition on Change.org, along with a petition for Marshae Jones and Ahmaud Arbery.
Some families may find it educational to bring children to protests, while others may not. Provide a service to your family and friends who want to participate by offering to keep an eye on their kids, if your state’s social distancing guidelines allow.
Buy from Black-owned businesses
Support for Black-owned businesses should be amplified and ongoing. Brother Vellies’s Aurora James recently called for major corporations to buy 15 percent of products from Black businesses, and consumers can implement similar goals in their everyday buying. Here are lists of Black-owned fashion and beauty brands you can support.
Join an antiracist group in your area
Find your local organization where you can contribute today and every day moving forward, whether that be a Black Lives Matter group, a Showing Up For Racial Justice chapter, or another group active in your area. Start with the W.G. Kellog Foundation’s Racial Equality Race Guide if you’d like a comprehensive list.
Reach out to government officials
Your local, state, and national leaders are meant to work with your interests at heart, so don’t hesitate to make your thoughts and feelings clear to them. The USA.gov website has direct links to contact your elected officials. You can also use a helpful template from Instagram user @maasaipg to send a prewritten email about George Floyd specifically to Minnesota legislators.
Hire, promote, and refer Black talent within your organization
If you’re in a position to offer employment opportunities to people, make a concerted effort to hire Black voices, particularly at the leadership level. What’s more, do your part to actively confront and rectify wage gaps, which disproportionately affect Black women, so that existing and incoming employees are justly paid their worth.
Being a better ally hinges on acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers while committing yourself to continually learning and listening. Documentaries and books about systemic and individual racism offer a good starting point. It’s worth noting that it’s not the responsibility of your Black peers and friends to provide insight. So — instead of asking others to put in the investigative and emotional labor — turn to existing resources, reading lists, and other educational material compiled by leaders and activist organizations.
Open a dialogue with family and friends
Though social media offers the ability to amplify Black voices and spread the messaging of the movement, engaging with those in your immediate circle and having difficult conversations about the realities of white privilege is also paramount. Depending on the situation, you might be met with indifference or a defensive attitude at first, but you might also spark an internal dialogue or reckoning, and it’s important that you try.
The presidential primary elections are already upon us and the general election in November will be here before we know it. Let your voice be heard at a local and national level. Change starts in communities and ripples out countrywide. Please remember to register to vote and do your own research about mail-in ballots.
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