The current state of the world has created the perfect storm for change in America. But with change there is always risk. Although protests have sprung up all across America, COVID-19 is still a very real risk. Luckily, you can help bring about change from the comfort of your own home. And no, I don't mean just by posting a black square on social media.
If You Can Leave The House...
1. Drop off food, water, and medical supplies for protesters on the ground.
Protesting is hard work. They spend hours walking around, often in the hot sun. This often means they're dehydrated and they could be skipping meals. If you have a friend who's protesting, you can purchase bulk chips, granola bars, and cases of water for them to drop off for others. Hand sanitizer and face masks are also important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Try not to purchase fresh produce or anything that can spoil easily, unless you're ready to wheel a cooler around.
If You Have Some Extra Money...
This is NOT by any means an exhaustive list of all the organizations you can support at this time. These are just a few of the prominent, black-led organizations taking immediate action against racial injustice.
2. Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
The official George Floyd Memorial Fund, organized by Philonise Floyd. This fund directly benefits George Floyd's family. You can also send letters and cards to George Floyd's estate (the address is included in the description of the GoFundMe).
3. Donate to your local bail fund/freedom fund.
Bail funds around the country are helping to free arrested protesters, but they need support. The Minneapolis Freedom Fund was absolutely inundated with donations, but local freedom funds still need the money to bail out over 9,000 people who have been arrested during protests across the country as of June 4th, 2020.
4. Donate to Campaign Zero
Campaign Zero supports actionable policy solutions to reduce the power of the police department at every level of government. Every initiative they support is based on evidence and research.
5. Donate to Reclaim the Block
Reclaim the Block is a Minneapolis-based organization that aims to direct funding away from the Minneapolis Police Department and instead invest the money into expanding health care, mental health policy, and much more.
6. Use your skills to collect donations.
If you have a special skill or talent and the money for supplies, you can sell your goods/services and donate the money earned to an organization supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. However, if you decide to take this route, please be transparent about where funds are going.
7. Sew masks for protesters.
If you have the money for fabric and the ability to sew, patterns for cloth masks are readily available online. Be sure the masks you make have minimal patterns to ensure they are less recognizable by law enforcement.
If You Can't Donate...
8. Watch this video by Zoe Amira.
This video was created in order to raise donations for various charities through ad revenue. Zoe Amira's video showcases black artists and musicians and contains many ad breaks. If you choose to watch the video, don't skip through any ads or turn the volume off. This will maximize your donations.
9. Sign petitions.
Thousands of petitions exist on change.org to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and they only take one click to sign. The best part is that these petitions don't cost anything! Here's a brief list to get you started:
10. Contact your representatives.
The contact information of public officials is readily available for a reason. Make your voice heard by calling and emailing their offices and demanding action against police brutality. You can get started by searching for your representatives here.
11. Register to vote and pay attention to who's running.
Check the voting records and past actions of your elected officials. Do they support people of color? Have they empowered the police or advocated for reform? Is there anyone running who could do it better? You have a say in who gets elected, so don't waste it.
Page 18 of this document from the NAACP details how to write an effective email or letter to an elected official.
12. Stay educated.
Stay aware of what's happening in your community & in your country. Social media is an excellent resource right now because the news can't or won't keep up with what's happening during the protests. This means we have to keep our eyes open as allies and call out injustice when we see it.
Furthermore, we have to continue to be a good ally when these topics stop "trending." We need to remember these events in November when it's time to vote. Read black authors, support black artists, and seek out black-owned small businesses during this time, and make it a point to do so in the future. Commitment is key — because commitment creates change in the long run.