Here's How To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement If You Can’t Get Out & Protest
The fatal shooting of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25 served as an impetus for recent nationwide protests against police brutality. The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t new, but the recent protests show no signs of slowing — and they’ve been coupled with continuing calls for defunding the police and investing in communities. If you want to show your support, but can't go out to protest, here are some ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Whether you or a loved one are immunocompromised and can't risk it during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you're still working and can't make it to a demonstration, or a protest is just — for whatever reason — not feasible for you, that doesn't mean you can't pitch in. There are plenty of other ways to express your stance and show your support for Black Lives Matter that don't require you to take to the streets in protest. Remember, though, that this list is by no means exhaustive, and there are many, many more things you can do to help support the cause. We'll be updating this story with more suggestions, recommendations, and actions as they emerge and are shared with us.
1. Sign a petition.
There is no shortage of petitions available online that you can sign to show your support for the Black Lives Matter movement. These include petitions specifically relating to recent killings, petitions demanding justice, petitions demanding policies to stop police brutality toward people of color, and petitions on related causes to support all the issues anti-racist protesters are fighting for.
A number of these petitions are on Change.org, while some are on the White House website under We The People. A few notable petitions to sign are below:
- We the People — A petition to reform the police by instituting heavy racial sensitivity training and being held accountable for racial injustices.
- Change.org — A petition for the Hands Up Act, which would mandate a prison sentence for cops who shoot unarmed individuals.
- Change.org — A petition to make false 911 claims against minorities a criminal offense.
- Change.org — a petition to demand charges against the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor, as well as tighter regulations for the type of no-knock warrant police used to enter her home.
- Change.org — a petition demanding the state of Georgia pass a hate crimes law that would impact cases like the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Georgia is currently one of four states without a hate crime law.
If none of these appeal to you (or they've already hit their goals), you can also do a quick search online or on Change.org yourself to locate similar petitions to sign to show support.
2. Donate to support the Black Lives Matter cause.
You can support protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement by donating to worthy causes for BLM itself or related causes that support people of color and advocate for racial justice.
Here are some of the places you can donate:
- Justice for Jacob Blake
- Official GoFundMe for Rayshard Brooks
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Official Gianna Floyd Fund (George Floyd's child)
- Fund Black Lives Matter directly
- PDX Protest Bail Fund supports bail money for those protesting in Portland, Oregon.
- Black Visions Collective
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) fights for civil rights and against racial bias.
- The Antiracist Research & Policy Center
- National Police Accountability Project
- The National Bail Fund Network supports socioeconomic and racial inequality in the justice system by providing community bail funds for people of color and others who can't afford their bail.
- Chicago Black and Brown Business Relief Fund
- BLM Oklahoma, Houston, and Cleveland.
- Homeless Black Trans Women Fund
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Fight for safety in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Reclaim the Block.
- If you want to donate but don't have the funds, try streaming this video. All of its ad revenue goes to BLM groups. There are other videos on YouTube contributing ad revenue to the cause here.
If none of these appeal? Check out a more extensive list of places to donate to Black Lives Matter causes here.
3. Donate to bail funds for protesters & those caught in the criminal justice system.
Many protesters and demonstrators have been arrested for taking a stand against police brutality. One way you can show your support for those taking a stand on the front lines is to donate to a bail-out fund such as the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, Chicago Community Bond Fund, and Philadelphia Community Bail Fund. You can check if any local organizations have a bail fund for protesters taken into police custody that you can contribute to. Importantly, a lot of these bail funds can re-use money once it's returned, meaning that your donation will also go towards alleviating the harm of controversial bail practices that disproportionately affect Black and brown people.
Note, though, that many funds have gotten popular enough that they are full up on donations for the moment — if your local bail fund doesn't need your money, see if they have a recommendation for another organization that does! You can also check out more bail funds here and learn how your money can help.
4. Educate yourself about anti-racism principles & actions.
One of the first actions you can take is to educate yourself on anti-racism principles. You can do so by reading and watching important materials, following specific educational social media accounts, and making yourself aware of how racial inequality is baked into many institutions and cultural norms, including the criminal justice system, the school system, and health care (for a start).
Here are a few places to begin:
- The Conscious Kid Instagram account
- Check out the resources listed on the Anti-Racism Project, which includes suggested reading material and films. You can also keep up with the organization and follow the events page to participate efforts to dismantle racial injustice.
- Take Harvard's Implicit Bias test to see where you stand, and if you need to make personal changes to your world view.
- Check out the Racial Equity Tools website. The organization hosts some valuable resources such as Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack."
- Take a look at Showing Up For Racial Justice's website and check the resources page for educational tools.
- Listen to these anti-racism podcast episodes from "Code Switch," "What A Day," and episodes from "About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge."
Remember, though, that it's not enough just to educate yourself without action — you have to be prepared to act on what you learn. At the very least, make sure to vote in all elections, local and national, and support candidates who are committed to racial equity.
5. Follow Black political activists & thinkers on social media.
Showing support can be as easy as keeping your social media feeds diverse and following (and sharing!) Black politicians, leaders, women, entrepreneurs, and thinkers. A good place to start is to follow anti-racist accounts from women who are already sharing their voices.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Bree Newsome Bass — A Black artist who regularly tweets about racial inequalities. She made waves back in 2015 when she lowered a Confederate flag outside of South Carolina's capitol building.
- Ebony Janice — A scholar, an author, and activist who works to educate and organize community work and advocates for Black women's ownership of their bodies. She's also the founder of Black Girl Mixtape, an intellectual space with a lecture series, podcast, and learning platform celebrating Black women.
- Rachel Cargle — An academic, writer, and lecturer, this lady knows how to advocate for Black women's rights and start a conversation about racism and allyship.
- Check Your Privilege — founded by Myisha T. Hill, this account brings you a space dedicated to anti-racism efforts by bringing awareness on how actions affect people of color and other racial groups.
As you follow and promote these accounts, remember it is not a Black person's job to be your anti-racist educator. You should not flood their DMs and comments with questions on what you should do. Take the resources available and do your own research on next steps. These could include supporting or joining community organizations committed to racial justice, or attending public city council meetings discussing reforms to support racial equity.
6. Support Black-owned businesses.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affects local, citizen-own businesses, you can show your support for Black business owners in your city. You can do a Google search to see which places offer online purchase options near you, check out a city guide for your area, or use Google maps to locate local business information.
Some apps and websites let you search easily. Try searching on We Buy Black, an online marketplace for black-owned businesses, or Official Black Wall Street, a business discovery app for Black-owned businesses.
And remember to support Black-owned businesses all year long, not only when injustices are brought to the forefront.
7. Join a Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) group.
There are chapters for SURJ all over the United States, and the group works to fight against white supremacy, aiming for racial equality and justice. SURJ aims to educate white people and move them toward a "multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability." If you're a white person, this is a good start to take action on your quest to be anti-racist.
While you may not be able to join in any events or community gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak, you can do so at a later date, and still show support by checking out its resources and signing up for an email newsletter.
8. Support & advocate for Black leadership.
While there are several ways to support the voices of Black people in political life and leadership. By advocating for multi-racial leadership in the organizations you're involved in or support, you can work toward elevating the voices of people of color, and particularly Black people, in positions in which they're otherwise underrepresented. Remember, people in positions of authority can enact the change that activists want to see — so it's important to support the leaders you want.
- Visit The Collective Political Action Committee and share support by following, donating, or buying merchandise. CollectivePAC works to build Black political power by electing and supporting Black representatives in the political sphere.
- Keep up with Higher Heights, which supports Black women's political participation as voters and elected officials and show support for women of color in office. You can donate, or simply support Black women leaders by following its social media accounts and its #BlackWomenLead campaign.
9. Help with supplies for protesters in your area.
While protesters are taking to the streets, you can help provide supplies to keep them readied for long hours outside. You can send supplies to your friends who're protesting by sending them a no-contact delivery to their door with Instacart or other grocery delivery apps, or reach out to your local chapter of Black Lives Matter and offer to donate snacks, bottled water, sunscreen, masks, or anything you have on hand to aid the cause.
10. Offer to help Black-owned businesses with community clean up.
You can help clean up your community by volunteering to help clean up Black-owned businesses. While many businesses have already been hurt financially by the coronavirus pandemic, shops may have been damaged during the ongoing protests. Check online for any clean-up efforts in your city.
A good place to start is with local Black activist groups' websites, such as For My Block, and social media accounts. You can also research which areas of your city were hardest hit and check the websites and social media accounts of businesses affected, to see if there are ongoing clean-up efforts. You can also check out resources specific to Minneapolis, such as the Free Hugs Project or Support the Cities.
11. Be the home-base contact for a protester you know.
A great way to help is to volunteer to be a contact for someone you know who's protesting. You can offer to give them a ride to the protest location and be available to pick them up when they need to get back home. If you have close friends protesting, you can also act as a home base if you feel comfortable letting them in to rest or take a bathroom break. You can also help provide supplies like portable chargers, food, water, or whatever else will make it possible for them to physically show their support at a protest in your city.
While the goal is always a peaceful protest, there have also been concerns in many areas that police and other authorities are escalating conflict. There have been multiple reports of peaceful protesters, or even bystanders, being arrested. If you're willing to be a home-base contact for a protester on the ground, you should also be prepared to advocate for, and potentially bail out, your protester on the ground, should they be arrested. You can also keep an eye on publicly available information on social media, police media accounts, scanner apps, or news reports to alert your protester if things are starting to look upsetting or dangerous.
12. Make signs, art, or promote Black artists.
While you may not be physically present at a protest, you can help your demonstrator friends by creating signs or art they can use during a demonstration. You'll need general art supplies like markers, paint, stickers, and poster boards, and you can find plenty of examples for what you want your message to be from photos of other BLM protests online. And if you choose to use quotes from public figures, past and present, you should continue to lift up Black voices in this time.
In addition to making your own signs and art, you can also support and promote Black artists by donating to organizations that support their careers, such as the Harlem Arts Alliance or the Black Art Futures Fund. If you'd rather support their art by owning a piece of it, search for Black artists who are selling their art online. There are several places to find art by Black Americans, such as online stores like Shop Baia and Etsy.
Protesting may be the most visible contribution to the Black Lives Matter movement, but there are plenty of ways to make an impact even if you can't make it to a demonstration.
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