Perhaps you have noticed that America is on fire. Perhaps you have noticed that people of color are disproportionately dying of Covid-19. Perhaps you are starting to realize that America has been heaping violence on Black people for hundreds of years.
Perhaps you have then wondered “What can I do?” but you are not on Twitter or Instagram or wherever the kids are (is it still TikTok?) so you are not privy to the many links and lists and ideas flying around. Be ye no longer unprivy-ed. Here are lists of lists. Share at will.
There are certainly many things that I have not yet seen, and new things popping up by the minute. Please please please, leave comments with links to other resources you know about. Not from the U.S.? Here’s a list of resources for our Canadian friends.
1. Give money for immediate needs — bail funds, community organizers, mutual aid organizations, on-the-ground support, family fundraisers.
Before you give, check the organization’s website; some have seen a big influx in giving and are hitting their donation caps (good!) and are asking that we redirect our giving to other, underfunded orgs.
BAIL FUNDS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS/MUTUAL AID ORGS
Emergency Release Fund (a bail fund specifically supporting the trans community)
National Bail Out (a bail fund focusing on moms and caregivers)
Black Lives Matter (if you didn’t know: it’s an actual organization, not just a hashtag)
2. Spend money at black-owned businesses.
Black-Owned Brooklyn, a magazine highlighting Black-own, Brooklyn-based businesses.
3. Don’t stop when the protests do.
A just society requires purposeful dedication to a massive redistribution of wealth. Do you have some? Play your part. None of us are Jeff Bezos (thank god), but most of us can help. If you benefit from white supremacy — which you do, if you’re white, full stop — you have a role to play in remediating it.
It’s not women’s job to teach men how not to be misogynist, and it’s not Black Americans’ job to teach White Americans how to be antiracist — antiracist, because no, being “not racist” is not enough.
If you grew up in the U.S., congratulations, you’re racist. It’s not necessarily your fault, because there was a dedicated, organized campaign to make sure you turned out that way. but if you don’t try to unlearn it, that is your fault. Read, and think. If you find yourself getting angry or uncomfortable, or if you were reading that bit about wealth redistribution and you thought “Bullshit, I’m powerless and broke, I don’t benefit from white supremacy,” that’s a great sign that you need to read and think some more. (Honestly not sure how you may be privileged? There are checklists that will help you think it through.)
If you decide to do some reading, which I hope you do, buy the books from one of the Black-owned bookstores in the list above. While you’re at it, buy some extra copies for friends and family, if you can afford to.
1. Protest action
It is the responsibility of white bodies to shield Black bodies, which have been absorbing our violence for centuries, whenever we can. Go to the protests. Don’t be super proud of yourself that you’re at a protest. Ask the organizers what they need. Listen to them.
A list of tips and tools and resources on everything from treating tear gas burns to pro bono lawyers to spotting undercover cops to knowing your rights.
You can request legal observers. Most ACLU chapters have an online request form. Find your local chapter.
2. Protest action, from home
Not everyone can be in the street. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do.
Amplify Black and on-the-ground voices. Do it without sharing photos that includes protestors’ faces, which makes it easier to identify, track, and target protest participants.
Call or text the police in Minneapolis and Louisville to demand justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Numbers and scripts here.
Call your state Attorney General and demand that they drop charges against peaceful protestors. Here’s a list of state AG phone numbers.
Use FaxZero to send free faxes to your congresspeople and governors. They’ll help you find your district and reps if you don’t know.
3. Political action
The point is not “arrest those four cops” (although, yes: arrest those four cops). The point is: the system is rotten from the outside in. We need justice in this moment for George Floyd and the far-too-long list of other people killed by the police, but also for all those who lost their lives and liberty to build the U.S, and for all those that continue to suffer not just discrimination and violence, but the reverberations of generations of oppression — we need ongoing commitment to dismantle an unjust system and replace it with something equitable.
New Yorkers, there’s an effort to repeal a law that stops a police officer’s disciplinary record from being accessed. You can sign up to make calls to your reps. Fill out the form to get contact info and a script.
Also New Yorkers: this link will send an email to city council members asking them to divert NYPD funds to education and social services.
Call your senators to support Sen. Schatz’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to stop the program that funnels military weaponry to local police.
Finally: this page has mental health resources for Black communities, along organizing and protesting tips.
If you happen to be a business owner, here’s some advice for you on taking meaningful action against racism.
Go forth, and do.