While it may seem that BLM protests have died down, that doesn’t mean that things should “go back to normal.” While the marches may have dwindled in numbers, the fight for justice continues. For those who may find themselves wondering how to continue supporting the movement if they don’t have local marches, we have provided some resources below.
BLM is an Anti-Racist Movement
Black Lives Matter has transcended its original connotation. For many non-Black people, it was directly associated with an uprising against the violence towards Black individuals and communities. From racial profiling, to arrests that end in the murder of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, and the high rates of incarceration of Black and brown people. 1 Though it may appear to some that the BLM movement surfaced as a result of the chronological murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, the movement’s battle against police brutality towards Black communities has been a long and ongoing one. Its first chapter originally started in 2013, in response “to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.” 2 The immunity law enforcement is granted despite their abuse of power and unjustified use of violence reveals that our systems of justice have been blatantly and repeatedly failing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). However, law enforcement is not the only system failing Black communities. You can look into almost any industry: the publishing industry, the service industry, the healthcare industry, the media industry, and even the professional dance industry, to quickly realize the deep roots of systemic racism.
There is more than one way to support the cause.
The mixture of a pandemic quarantine and the loud outcry of a tired people has forced many to listen. We have transformed BLM into an anti-racist movement that encompasses all aspects of society that need reformation and, in some cases, complete abolishment. Now that we are listening, it is impossible to return to ignorance. We are aware and therefore responsible to take a stand. We should want to take a stand. Though protests are some of the most change-creating factors they are not the only way to contribute to the fight. If you are concerned about your own or your loved ones’ health, following the spike of COVID-19 cases, we can contribute to the fight by aiding our warriors on the ground with resources through donations, we can arm ourselves as accomplices of the fight by educating ourselves and those around us, and we can collectively place pressure on officials by using the most accessible resource immediately available to us all: our cell phones. With just a click, you can sign a petition, type an email, or make a phone call.
Here is a list of organizations accepting donations, petitions that need your support, and officials you can call or email:
D O N A T I O N S
Please keep in mind that though we are all being affected by COVID-19, our struggle may look very different. Communities of color struggle for proper housing, access to nutrition and healthcare, and proper education on a daily basis. COVID- 19 has only escalated the ongoing resource scarcity BIPOC constantly struggle through. If you find yourself in a position to donate, consider donating to these organizations but also note that your buying power can make a meaningful impact on a day-to-day basis by intentionally spending your money at Black owned businesses. Anything from where you buy your groceries, where you dine, to where you buy your clothes. Be intentional, support Black businesses.
- African Career, Education, and Resources (ACER) – “A nonprofit organization that engages African immigrants living in the north and northwest suburbs of Minneapolis.” – acerinc.org
- Birth Revolution – “With these funds we will create accessible trainings for birth workers, provide free training for BIPOC, and pay our elders and educators a living wage for the knowledge they pour into us all.” – thebirthrevolution.org
- LGBTQ FUND – “LGBTQ people are three times more likely to be jailed. At risk of abuse, many can’t afford bail. We get them out.” – lgbtqfund.org
- Solutions Not Punishment – “A Black, Trans-led, broad based collaborative to restore an Atlanta where every person has the opportunity to grow and thrive without facing unfair barriers, especially from the criminal legal system.” – snap4freedom.org
- Youth BreakOUT! – “BreakOUT! Seeks to end the criminalization of [LGBTQ] youth to build a safer and more just New Orleans. We build on the rich cultural tradition of resistance in the South to build the power of LGBTQ youth ages 13-25 […] through organizing, healing justice, and leadership development programs.” – youthbreakout.org
P E T I T I O N S
There are literally hundreds of petitions to sign to bring awareness to the cause and demand justice. These are some of the petitions that have the most momentum and demand justice for individuals as well as for sustainable change. Please look into your local BLM chapter to find out what issues they may be targeting and need your support. Also, keep in mind that because BIPOC are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, I have included petitions that explain the effects as well as demand intervention from our government!
- “Prosecute Police Who Murder Unarmed Individuals!” – Danette L Chavis – National Action Against Police Brutality and Murder!
- “Justice for Breonna” – Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, “I want justice for her. I want them to say her name.”
- “Defund MPD, Respond to Healthcare Needs” – Reclaim the Block Organization
- https://blacklivesmatter.com/demand-racial-data-on-coronavirus/ – Black Lives Matter (Copy and Paste this link to your web browser)
- https://blacklivesmatter.com/coronavirus-demand-more-from-the-government/ – Black Lives Matter (Copy and Paste this link to your web browser)
O F F I C I A L S (YOU can contact)
The City Council votes on our budgets and decides where to allocate funds. Without pressure from the people, they will allocate funds based on their bias and sometimes even own convenience. We need to be more concerned and involved in the decision making of our money. For further reading on how to contact your local officials, click here.
Conversations with friends and family about BLM
There are so many of us that can understand without question the full weight of Black Lives Matter and feel no follow up conversation should be necessary. It’s so obvious that it is painful, even more so when anyone responds with “BUT”! Though it is a daunting and exhausting task, engaging in anti-racist conversations is one of the most effective ways to bring about change.
Many people in support of BLM have taken to their social media accounts to assert their position and encourage those that do not agree with them to unfollow them. While I can easily understand why we would want to cut those ties, in real life as much virtually, it does not solve racism. We need to have those anti-racist conversations. Even if it doesn’t change any one person’s mind. At the very least they will have heard a different perspective, one they may have been ignorant of prior to. Though we cannot force others to adopt a different moral perspective, if they are exposed to the conversation enough times, through different outlets, hopefully the person can be persuaded to do their own research and create their own change. There are some family members or friends who can have this conversation without it becoming toxic, however for every few decent conversations, there will likely be a confrontational one. If you suspect a family member may not respond so well to an outright conversation about anti-racism, perhaps you can make a book or a film recommendation and ask them to share their thoughts on it with you. This can aid in a similar manner without making the individual feel personally attacked.
Here are some resources they may aid you during these conversations:
F I L M S and S E R I E S
- 13th – Documentary
- Pose – Series
- American Son – Film
- When They See Us – Film
- Murder to Mercy – Documentary
- Moonlight – Film
- Just Mercy – Film
P O D C A S T S
- “Unpacking Anti-Blackness” – Café Con Chisme
- “Desafiando El Racismo en Las Comunidades Latinx [Capitulo en Espanol]” – Café Con Chisme
- “Don’t Be Electric Sheep” – Bitter Brown Femmes
- “Breaking Tradition and Dragging Anti-Black Norms in Latinx Spaces” – Caña Negra
- “Episode 1” – “Episode 5” – 1619 from The New York Times
L I T E R A T U R E
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- “The Gates to Freedom” by Dr. Angela Y Davis
- “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” by Audre Lorde
The resources could go on and on! If you would like to research some more, please take a look at this BLM Action Card. It’s packed with instructions and links.
Be an Accomplice, Not an Ally³
We need to be accomplices of the movement. Most people are under the impression that in order to fight for change they need to be on the ground and in the field. Freedom fighters have been long doing that work and though the recent uprise of communities in support of BLM across the world has “woken” many, we need to make sure this moment of clarity creates sustainable change for entire societies. This means doing the work and showing up everyday for the fight. Protests may die down and the ones doing the work on the ground will keep doing so. However, you can be a committed accomplice of the effort for change by continuing to educate yourself and those around you by taking this fight as your own. Understanding that you are not detached from this fight. It is not “they” or “others” who are in trouble, it is US, all of us! If we unlearn individualism and learn collectivism then we can begin to dismantle our own internalized “police” mentality that often leads us to judging rather than understanding. Learning this distinction will help us create a new narrative of justice for our communities, one where the true goal is preserving human lives and rehabilitation through nurture.
¹Criminal Justice Fact Sheet, NAACP, Retrieved July 1, 2020, from https://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/
²About Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Retrieved July 1, 2020, from https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
³“Accomplices not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex.” Indigenous Action, Retrieved July 1, 2020, from http://www.indigenousaction.org/accomplices-not-allies-abolishing-the-ally-industrial-complex/