After the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020 in Minneapolis, the Black Lives Matter movement transformed from relying on predominantly online platforms to becoming a physical, global call for action. People are not protesting around the world only to show support for Floyd and his family, but to bring attention to the brutal murders of Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, and the countless other Black people who have been killed by police officers. Across the United States, many are urging their legislators to support defunding the police in hopes of creating systemic change.
Although attending protests and signing petitions are extremely important action steps during this time, there are many other ways we can contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement that will ensure long-term change in our own lives. Supporting Black lives and Black voices is not a temporary decision for the month of May and June. We must make conscious choices to change now and forever.
1. Reach Out to Black Friends, Coworkers, Activists
It is not enough to read about Black people. Check in with your Black friends during this time and actively listen to what they have to say.
2. Read About Racial InjusticeGiphy
Learn about the history of segregation in the United States that continues to have a profound impact by reading books such as The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. You can also read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which tells the story of medical personnel who stole the cells of a young Black woman.
3. Support Black-Owned BusinessesGiphy
4. Educate Yourself About the Depths of Racism
Consider purchasing the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which highlights the meaning behind white fragility and why it is so harmful to progress. You may also look into Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which identifies how racial discrimination shapes the legal system and politics.
5. Boycott Companies that Profit from Racial Injustice
While many corporations are desperately attempting to prove they are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, few of them have taken action. A significant number of companies continue to use prison labor to increase revenue, which is a form of legal racial discrimination.
6. Hold Celebrities Accountable
Allegations of racist comments from celebrities like former 'Glee' star Lea Michele and Hartley Sawyer from 'The Flash' are finally starting to receive public attention. Reconsider your consumption of movies, television shows, and other media based on how your favorite stars react to this movement.
7. Listen to Black Artists
This is obviously a non-exhaustive list, as there are an innumerable amount of ways that you can show your support right now. Remember that this is more than a movement; it is a revolution. Now is the time to pick which side of history you want to be on.
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