There comes a time when you can no longer be silent. If you have been watching my instagram stories I have been posting different ways you can help the BLM movement. Since those stories only last for a measly 24 hours I have gathered ways you can help this civil rights movement in this long overdue post.
Here is how Black Lives Matters affects you: you cannot live in a peaceful and loving community by turning a blind eye to those who face brutality. Just because it is not happening to you does not mean it is not happening to another. Thankfully we have the technology now to film when injustice is happening and are able to hold people accountable for their actions. To truly live at peace we must unite and fight the cancer that is police brutality. To argue All Lives Matter is selfish and gaslights the movement that is still fighting for equal rights. If all lives matter why are you not standing for the Black lives? To give an example, if a patient being rushed to the ER after an accident were to point to their mangled leg and say, “This is what matters right now,” and the doctor saw the scrapes and bruises of other areas and countered, “but all of you matters,” wouldn’t there be a question as to why he doesn’t show urgency in aiding that what is most at risk? Yes, your life does matter but so do others and right now were are fighting for Black lives.
To those who are shocked of the uproars and protesters, this is a generation raised on stories of rebellion and seeking for social justice (A Tale of Two Cities, Le Mis, The Giver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hunger Games, Divergent, Uglies, etc.) *I must add that these are books that I was required to read in school*. You cannot act surprised when history repeats itself again and again. We are merely looking to our Founding Fathers and ancestors as an example (1765- 1783 American Revolution, 1773 Boston Tea Party, 1811 German Coast Uprising, 1831 Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation, etc. ). This is not just an African-American issue, it’s an American issue. This overreach in violence disproportionately affects minorities, but it does not only affect minorities.
To simply put it, there are things all of us can do to support Black Lives Matter and fight for racial justice, we just need to go out and do it. Here are a few good places to start.
- Listen without being defensive. If you’re truly interested in genuine change, the most important development you can make is evolving your worldview. The most important part of active listening is fighting the human urge to respond to someone’s social critiques by being defensive. Sometimes when we hear someone explaining why something is negatively affecting them, we feel compelled to inform that person of all the ways our life is difficult, too. It’s easy to live in a all about me world but it is lonely. Or, we choose to only focus in on the one part of their analysis that possibly could be a negative statement about ourselves. It’s critical to listen to groups like Black Lives Matter with an open mind and heart, instead of only selectively listening to the parts you want to contest.
- Join Campaign Zero. When you get asked “So, what’s the plan to end police brutality?” because you will, send them directly to Campaign Zero’s website because it breaks it down in a comprehensive 10-point plan. The site helps you find your local rep, provides an infographic on state-by-state legislation, and even tells you where the presidential candidates stand on these topics. It’s an amazing resource to utilize and an awesome cause to stand behind.
- Use your privilege!!!! Black Lives Matter and many of the other organizations fighting state-sponsored violence are predominantly comprised of Black women, many of whom are also part of the LGBTQ+ community. If Black women are out protesting and you see them being abused, treated unfairly, or being discriminated against, using your privilege to intervene could help save someone’s life. I have to add here place yourself between a police officer and Black person should the occasion arise. You know they will not harm you and it is your job to protect when wielding that power.
- Go out and protest. Do not be fooled into believing that protests are about violent clashes with the police, or choking on tear gas, or getting arrested. Social actions take many different forms. Creating a social media page dedicated to tracking particular issues or cases is one great way to help out. Walk-outs are an effective way of spreading a message and can be organized at your school or in a large social group. Starting online petitions on a site like change.org is also an effective way of making your voice heard. However, please be careful should chose this path, the police have been taking violent actions to peaceful protests so make sure you are taking safety measures when you venture out (have milk for tear gas, come with a first aid kit for not only yourself but others, have a face shield if you can, cover your face so you can’t be identified, etc.) Also wear a face mask and gloves!!! The pandemic didn’t stop when the protesting started.
- Advocate for mental health intervention. The part of this discussion that continues to be woefully unnoticed is how many victims of police brutality also have mental conditions. Some reports say that at least half of all police shooting victims struggled with some form of serious mental health crisis. An important part of saving lives is creating more resources to help people experiencing these issues, especially in poor neighborhoods and Black and brown communities.
- Record police encounters responsibly. Know your rights!!!! Second, be respectful, courteous and don’t interfere with the scene taking place. Third, make sure you have a special app so if you do witness something important or you find yourself being detained, your video can’t just be easily erased. Check out this comprehensive resource guide on safely and ethically filming police misconduct for more information.
- Push to remove and punish bad police officers. It is important to realize that Black Lives Matter is not waging a war on police — it’s waging a war on bad cops. The type of officers who disrespect their badge by not upholding their duty to protect and serve citizens. The type of officers who assault the most vulnerable amongst us instead of protecting them. The type of people who shoot first and ask questions later. The type who know of injustice but do nothing of it. The type who stand and watch and do not take action. These are not men and women who we should be fine with keeping their jobs. The first step can often involve contacting the police department that the officer works at (which is typically released to the public before their identity is) and demanding that the officer’s identity is revealed to the public. If you already have the officer’s name, the next step is to contact your mayor and demand that the officer be relieved of their duties. Use social media sites and online petitions to rally support for the cause.
Here are ways you can donate and sign petitions:
- Donate to Black Lives Matter: You can find the main donation page here.
- Get involved with your local BLM chapter: The full list is here.
- Or start your own: More info here.
- Donate to a bail fund: Some Twitter users are crowdsourcing lists of local organizations that help bail out protesters who get arrested. Thread here.
- Or another bail fund: This crowdsourced Google Doc of bail funds keeps getting bigger.
- Support the National Police Accountability Project: This group, a project of the National Lawyers Guild, helps people find legal counsel. More info here.
- Support Campaign Zero, a police reform group that has been working on policy solutions “informed by data and human rights principles.” More info here.
- Sign a petition: Civil rights group Color of Change launched a petition asking that all the officers involved in Floyd’s death are brought to justice. Find it here.
- Or another petition: The “Justice for George Floyd” petition on Change.org already has 8.5 million supporters. That sends a big message. Find it here.
- Donate to bail funds across the US: You can find38 community bail funds today here.
- Sign the petition demanding the police officer who killed George Floyd is charged here.
- Donate to the Brooklyn Bail Fund to assist protesters in Brooklyn here.
- Donate to Black Lives Matter here.
- Donate to George Floyd Memorial Fund here.
- Donate to Reclaim the Block here.
- Donate to the #SayHerName campaign here.
- Donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund to help protesters arrested demonstrating against the police killing of Breonna Taylor here.
- Donate to the Ahmaud Arbery memorial fund here.
- Donate to the Northstar Health Collective mutual aid fund here.
- If you are from the UK – email your local MP to ask them to support further investigation into Belly Mijunga’s death here.
- Donate to Belly Mujinga’s family here.
- Other ways to help: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
- Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund to assist protesters in Minnesota here.
- Regularly updated list of bail funds to support as protests spread here.
Please keep educating yourself, keep fighting, and stay safe!!