If you are reading this, you must have heard by now about the tragic killing of an innocent black man on May 25th, 2020. His name was George Floyd, and he was killed mercilessly, in broad daylight, with multiple witnesses and video evidence. The only reason that his murderer wasn't immediately arrested and charged, and the only reason they are still protecting him, is because he is a white man with a badge. The policeman who killed George Floyd had several police brutality complaints against him, going back years. Having never been held accountable for this, Derek Chauvin was able to kill George Floyd by placing his knee on the innocent man's neck for eight long minutes, until he eventually died. Three other officers both held George Floyd down, and watched as he was killed.
George Floyd's story is one of far too many. In February, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed while jogging by two white men who were not arrested until 74 days after the murder, also recorded on video. In March, Breonna Taylor, a young EMT and aspiring nurse, was killed by police shooting her eight times after entering her home unannounced. On May 27th, just two days after George Floyd was killed, Tony McDade, a black trans man was killed by police. I could go on naming the black lives taken by police, but that list would go on forever. These most recent deaths, and especially the death of George Floyd, are what have sparked the recent protests. There has been outrage on social media, marches, protests, and riots across the country and even worldwide. People are angry, and rightfully so.
As a white person, my goal is not to speak over black people and people of color, but to amplify their voices. I want to do everything I can to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and I want to do that by sharing as much information as I can. That being said, I do not want to speak for black people, who are the most important voices right now. If they are giving you, as a non-black person, ways to help them-- do it. By writing this list, I'm aiming to share the information that I have looked into and received throughout the past couple of weeks. Here is a list of ways that you can help the Black Lives Matter movement right now.
One of the most effective and easiest ways you can support this movement right now is by signing petitions. Signing these petitions takes 30 seconds each at most. Sign, then share to as many people as possible. This is a simple way to get your voice heard, and it is easy to spread. Here is a resource with a great list of petitions to sign regarding justice for George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, charging the cops that killed George Floyd, and many other victims:
Make sure that after you sign each petition, you share it with friends, family, and on social media. Also be sure to check your email after signing petitions, as many sites will require you to confirm your email for your signature to count.
If you are a white person, it your job to educate yourself. It is not people of color's job to educate you on the issues surrounding their communities, because white people are most definitely responsible for those problems. Do your research. There are countless books, articles, podcasts, TV shows, and movies you can use. There are so many resources at your finger tips, that if you are not educated about an issue it is because you choose not to be.
Most importantly- LISTEN. If a black person or person of color is trying to tell you about racism, if you are doing anything but listening you are wrong. A lot of people's initial reaction is to get defensive-- be careful not to. Listen, and use that information as you continue trying to be an ally.
A lot of people are angry about these riots. They say they don't understand why the protesters need to get violent. Why not just peacefully protest?
The reason is because when they were peacefully protesting, we weren't listening. There was outrage when Colin Kaepernick dared to take a knee during the national anthem. Nothing changed. Now that there are riots, some people have a problem with violence. But if you are white, and you are more angry with the violence taking place during these riots than you are with the violence and brutality against black people by the police, the violence that is continuing to be exhibited by police during these protests, you are part of the problem. Listen.
As you educate yourself, educate others. Talk to your friends, your family, and anyone you might interact with on social media about these issues and what you are learning.
A great resource for staying educated is this Anti racism resource document by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.
Not everyone is able to donate, and that is okay! If you can, however, there are a lot of organizations and people that need it. Donate to bail funds for protesters who are being arrested and to GoFundMe accounts for the victims. If you can't afford to donate yourself, make sure you are sharing the links to these pages and getting them to people who can! Donate to the George Floyd Fund, the Ahmaud Arbery Fund, the Breonna Taylor Fund, and to Bail Funds.
Again, not everyone is able to protest, especially considering that we are still going through a global pandemic. However, if you can and are willing, protesting is great way to support this movement. Join in with signs, supplies, and your voices. It is important, however, that if you go to a Black Lives Matter protest as a white person that you know your role. You are there to support black people and their voices. You are there to follow the leaders of the protest, and amplify the voices of that community. Join in chants, hold up your signs, make your presence known.
It is important to NOT be violent. Do not break things, do not set things on fire. As stated before, some of these protests are violent and the anger of those people is warranted. However, if you as a white person start destroying things or acting violent, you are not going to be the one to suffer the consequences for that. Being an ally does not erase your white privilege. You will still be much less likely to be held accountable for whatever you destroy.
This is especially true if the protest is a peaceful one! Do not start the violence. If you are there to break things, you are there for the wrong reason. Stay home.
When the police inevitably show up to these protests, it is your job to use your white privilege and protect the black people and people of color around you. You are much less likely to be hurt. Put yourself between cops and protesters. You are there to support, to amplify the voices of people around you, and to protect. Know this going into the protest.
That being said, if you are attending a protest be prepared and be safe! Here is a great guide by Amnesty for protest safety.
Support black owned businesses
This is something you can and should always be doing, but it is especially important now! The impact Covid-19 had and continues to have on businesses, especially smaller ones, is devastating. There are plenty of black owned businesses that you can be buying from and donating to! Many are even online, so you can reach them from anywhere and without worrying about the pandemic.
Please consider doing more research and buying from businesses that need our support now more than ever. Here is a thread of small black owned businesses that you can purchase various items from! From jewelry, to cosmetics, to art and cleaning supplies, you'll find something you need.
Use your voice carefully
Even if you aren't able to attend protests, make sure you are making your voice heard! If you have a platform, your voice can be essential in raising awareness and creating change. You can do this through petitions, calling, emailing, and utilizing social media. We live in an age where social media is one of the widest used forms of communication, especially among younger generations. If you are white and not advocating for Black Lives Matter on your Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, or some other platform, your silence makes you complicit.
It is important that when you use your voice, you use it wisely. Re-post helpful information to your Instagram stories. Share petitions and donation links. As well intended as chain "tag ten people to post #BlackLivesMatter" posts can be, they are not actively doing anything. And if this is the only thing you are posting about the movement, it is just performative. Use your voice to educate, to share, and to amplify black and people of color voices!
Lastly, we must acknowledge that the fight is not ending anytime soon. "Going back to normal" will help not help the cause. We cannot only be vocal after a tragedy, for that is not being a true ally. I myself am guilty of primarily using my voice after tragedies, but the truth is by doing this we are already too late. Black Lives Matter is not a trend, it is a movement, and it needs continuous and persistent support.
Keep listening. Keep using your voice. Keep fighting.
I hope that this article provided the information and resources needed to start helping the Black Lives Matter movement as non-black people. These are by no means the only ways to help, and I encourage anyone reading this to continue researching ways to support this cause. You can go directly to the Black Lives Matter official website for more information. You should also be sure to follow black activists, writers, and creators across all platforms! I tried to summarize the best information I've seen here in this list, but black voices will always be more important and we need to be listening.
Black lives always have, and always will matter. Be a supporter, a friend, and an ally.