Around the country, Black Lives Matter activists and allies have gathered to peacefully protest the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The uprising is also calling for systemic change and accountability for widespread police brutality and anti-Black racism, and for white people and non-Black people to educate themselves and do better.On Twitter, former First Lady Michelle Obama said she was “exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop.” She added that “it’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.”
Providing help and support can look different for everyone, and may be influenced by your own financial circumstances or other barriers. Below, we’ve gathered ways to donate, provide support, educate yourself, and more — right now and moving forward.
Over the course of four days, social media users raised over $20 million for the Minnesota Freedom Fund, an organization that is committed not only to providing bail for activists who were arrested in the Minneapolis uprisings, but also for providing cash bail to those in need. The organization is now asking people to donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, as well as to local and especially Black-led organizations, such as Black Visions Collective and Reclaim The Block.
In particular, donating to bail funds allows organizations to do crucial work to provide justice to people who may be incarcerated because they cannot afford cash bail. Activists are also working to ensure that cash bail is not codified as part of the prison system.
Other organizations to which you can donate: The Atlanta Solidarity Fund, the Bail Project, the Brooklyn Bail Fund, Bronx Defenders, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, and more. There are also petitions for Floyd’s family, as well as fundraisers and petitions to support the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade. You can also sign the petition to support the memory of Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was shot and killed in her home by police.
Call your representatives
It’s easy to find the number of your congressperson or senator, and let them know you support police reform and are demanding justice for Floyd and other victims of anti-Black racism and police brutality. 5 Calls will provide you with the information, as well as a script based on your cause. If you’re leaving a voice mail, be sure to leave your name, street address, and zip code, and tell them you’re a constituent.
Hi, my name is [ your name ] and I am your constituent from [ address and zip code ]. I am calling to urge [ your representative ] to take action against the police violence in my city, which targeted protesters this weekend and regularly targets the Black people they are supposed to protect and serve. Congress should be leading the call for accountability. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Have conversations with your family and friends
If you are white or a non-Black person of color, it’s crucial that you do your part to educate yourself, and hold both yourself and those around you accountable. Reese Witherspoon recently opened up about her duty as a white mother to have a conversation with her white son about anti-Black racism. She said the experience “was heartbreaking. But not nearly as heartbreaking as being a victim of one of these senseless, violent, unconscionable crimes. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being one of the families who have experienced loss and harassment and discrimination daily. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being a mother who lives in fear of what will happen to her children in this world.”
And kids aren’t too young to talk about race, and understand the ways people’s biases and racism are destroying the world. As Instagram hub @TheConsciousKid pointed out, babies as young as 3 months old begin forming biases predicated on faces that look like those of their parent or caregiver. Supporting the organization’s Patreon will provide you with access to lists of kid’s books that support conversations about race and racism.
You can also use this primer to help teach your white children how to use their privilege for good.
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🚨It's never too early to talk about race.🚨 "Adults often think they should avoid talking with young children about race or racism because doing so would cause them to notice race or make them racist. In fact, when adults are silent about race or use "colorblind" rhetoric, they actually reinforce racial prejudice in children. Starting at a very young age, children see patterns — who seems to live where; what kinds of homes they see as they ride or walk through different neighborhoods; who is the most desirable character in the movies they watch; who seems to have particular jobs or roles at the doctor's office, at school, at the grocery store; and so on — and try to assign "rules" to explain what they see. Adults' silence about these patterns and the structural racism that causes them, combined with the false but ubiquitous "American Dream" narrative that everyone can achieve anything that they want through hard work, results in children concluding that the patterns they see "must have been caused by meaningful inherent differences between groups." In other words, young children infer that the racial inequities they see are natural and justified. So despite good intentions, when we fail to talk openly with our children about racial inequity in our society, we are in fact contributing to the development of their racial biases, which studies show are already in place.” (Dr. Erin Winkler, 2017) Images by @pretty_good_design, adapted from work by the Children’s Community School. #Parenting #RacialBias #TeachersOfInstagram #AntiRacist
Support Black-owned businesses and organizations in your community
As CBS News reported in April, approximately 95 percent of Black-owned businesses were excluded from the $3 trillion economic stimulus package passed by Congress that was meant to support communities through the coronavirus pandemic. The economic crisis is just the latest hurdle disproportionately affecting Black-owned businesses, which often struggle to stay afloat and provide necessary resources to their communities. AfroTech rounded up apps and websites that will help you identify Black-owned businesses in your area.
If you’re looking to buy books to further educate yourself on how to be anti-racist, consider buying them from Black-owned bookstores. Get involved in community efforts that have existed long before the uprisings, and will need your support long after. If you can, commit to supporting organizations that provide mental health services and other support systems for Black people.
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Social media has been a bit overwhelming since I first put up this post so it has taken some time for me to post this. On Friday, I shared this content on Twitter after I felt the conversations online were like screaming into an echo chamber. I wanted to provide those who wanted to support and be an ally with practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. I am still somewhat surprised and overwhelmed by the reception so please take patience with me at this time. — For a note on who I am to those who have followed me from Twitter, my name is Mireille. I'm an assistant editor and I do freelance writing, PR and sensitivity reading and other bits on the side. I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, and everything I have shared is not new knowledge to me. From as far back as I can remember I've been campaigning, fighting for equality and supporting and working with black owned organisations. I have worked in the diversity and inclusion space for around four years and I have been equipped with knowledge, skills etc through that work as well as through wider, intensive reading and being raised by a Jamaican mother who has a degree in Women's Studies. I felt as a mixed race person who was emotionally capable despite the current situation that I could use my learned experience, skills and compassion to offer this advice to allies and anyone else who was seeking advice but didn't know where to turn. This is now on my stories as a highlight so please feel free to share from there or here. — A small reminder that this took emotional labour and POC, especially black people are not here to teach you everything. When I said ask how you can support, I meant on a personal level as a friend etc. I hope this toolkit provides you with the starter info you need but there are genuinely people more experienced than me who warrant your listening to – please go and follow @nowhitesaviors, @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @ckyourprivilege, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @renieddolodge, @ibramxk + a few more: @akalamusic, @katycatalyst + @roiannenedd who all have books or resources from many more years of experience. _