Our country’s pain right now is impossible to ignore. On top of historic unemployment and an unprecedented pandemic, we are now witnessing a nationwide demonstration against systemic racial discrimination, oppression and brutality. When we are confronted with this amount of mass trauma, pain, distress, and injustice, it can be disorienting and paralyzing. It can be hard to know what to do or how to help, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and succumb to apathy. If you’re looking for clear ways you can help, or want to learn more about what protesters are struggling for, here are some resources.
One of the greatest actions an ally can take is making the effort to learn about the ways that racial inequality shapes this country and impacts its citizens. There are so many incredible resources out there by many sources. I encourage everyone to do their own research; taking the time to learn and invest in your own perspective can yield amazing results.
If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few places you could start:
Vogue, Elle, Buzzfeed and the New York Times all have lists of book recommendations if you’re trying to learn more about the way racism has shaped and continues to impact the experiences of people of color in America.
Campaign Zero works to develop and support policies that reduce police brutalities and police-involved fatalities. Their website clearly lays out the ten policies they are backing to improve racial justice in the US and lets you track the status of each policy in your city and state.
The New York Times’ 1619 Project is an exhaustively researched look into the origins of slavery in America and the way it has shaped American history ever since.
Charles Preston has compiled a Black History Month Library with free pdfs of important works by black authors, study guides, cultural guides and more.
One of the easiest and most effective forms of action is simply putting some of your money in the hands of an organization prepared to do good with it.
Following your heart is always the best way to find a cause to invest in; I always recommend putting a lot of research into the causes you support so that they feel personal to you.
This Victim Donation Page created by a member of the movement has links to the GoFundMe pages for the families of victims like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
You can donate to support Black Lives Matter in the fight to end state-sanctioned violence against people of color.
Take the time to find a cause that needs you, and if you’re able to give even a little, you’ll know that you’re directly providing relief to someone in need.
This an unstable economic time for so many people. If you’re unable to donate financially to causes right now, there are still ways to lend a hand.
Black Lives Matter also has a petitions page; right now they are advocating for a more urgent federal response to the threat of COVID-19 as well as tracking of the disproportionate ways COVID has impacted communities of color.
Nationwide protests this weekend erupted after Minnesotan representatives initially refused to arrest former officer Derek Chauvin for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who was not resisting arrest, until he died. You can contact the District Attorney and the Minneapolis Mayor to demand that the officers involved face justice.
Minneapolis Mayor’s Office, Jacob Frey: 612.673.2100
Minneapolis District Attorney, Mike Freeman: 612.348.5550
If you’re unsure of what to say, this free service will draft an email for you that you can send to Minneapolis representatives.
Being faced with an injustice as monumental and heartbreaking as racial inequality can feel debilitating. It’s easy to feel that there’s nothing one person can do to solve an issue so large and ingrained; we can feel drowned in the amount of grief and powerlessness that the world holds for us on some days.
The fight begins when we resist the voice that tells us there’s no point in trying. You can take a small step right now and start to be a part of the solution. You can join the thousands of people who are already working to make sure our children grow up with a safer, fairer future and together our work can change the world.
Every journey begins with one small step; are you ready to begin?