“He won the lottery by being born
Big hand slapped a white male American
Do no wrong so clean cut,
Dirty his hands it comes right off
Policeman, policeman, policeman
Police stopped my brother again…”
I sing this verse from Pearl Jam’s W.M.A song from 1993 as I watch a white cop kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. There the he was with one knee on Floyd’s neck and one hand placed casually in his pocket. He lorded his power over the victim without any hardships, without any struggle, without any remorse. It was extremely disturbing. We all know what happens at the end of it.
It has been a week since that video was released and the public became outraged with the murder of George Floyd at the hands – knee – of Derek Chauvin. Mass protests ensued across the United States and cities across the world, with people from all walks of life, disgusted and tired of the ongoing police brutality against the black community, taking to the streets to demand justice for Floyd and many other black lives that have been taken unjustly, an end to racial injustice and violent oppression, and seeking criminal justice reform.
Enough, they cry.
However, the peaceful demonstrations sparked by Floyd’s death has brought on unforeseen circumstances as vandals and agitators hijack an important cause to instigate mayhem and create a dystopian setting by looting, rioting, torching property and igniting violence.
While mainstream media chooses to focus on these dramatic scenes of chaos and barbarity, we won’t. Because those are merely distractions. The issue is, and always has been, racial injustice.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
As millions of Americans take to the streets to raise their voices and speak out against inequality and injustice, we who aren’t in the US are also screaming, Enough!
We stand in solidarity with the black community to fight against racial injustice and the systemic racism that has been embedded in the institutions, structures and policies of its nation. We cannot have social justice unless there’s deep, structural, systemic change.
So here are six ways you – particularly if you’re white and a non-black person of colour (NBPOC) – can get involved to support the black community, stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and show up for them in ways you have never done so before. As activist Angela Davis once said, “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
1. Follow accounts led by Black people and amplify their voices
Here are some black-led accounts to start learning about racial injustice and solutions being offered by the community. Make sure to share their work with your networks so that they rise from their racial ignorance too (FYI this list is not exhaustive):
Rachel Cargle is an American public academic and writer whose work and activism is well-known within the social and environmental justice movement. She not only provides insights and knowledge on her Instagram account, but offers a plethora of educational resources and a self-paced syllabi through her Patreon account.
Monique Melton is an anti-racism educator, author, public speaker and the host of Shine Brighter Together podcast. A woman deeply rooted in her faith, she explores topics related to anti-racism, diversity, personal growth and healthy relationships.
Tamika D. Mallory is an American activist and one of the co-organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She is a nationally recognized civil rights leader and anti-violence advocate who is also the NYC co-chair for Gun Violence Awareness Month.
Michelle Taylor aka Feminista Jones is a Philadelphia-based feminist author, public speaker, activist, non-profit consultant and semi-retired social worker. Her work centres on Black American culture, intersectionality and women’s health and well-being.
Aja Barber is a London-based writer and fashion consultant whose work explores the intersections of feminism, race, ethics and sustainability. Her Instagram IGTVs are essential viewing and she also has a Patreon account where you can support her tireless advocacy for diversity, inclusion and justice within fashion.
Layla F. Saad is a globally respected writer, speaker, podcast host and the author of the book Me and White Supremacy, widely-regarded as essential reading by many within the social and racial justice movements. Saad explores the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation and social change.
Reni Eddo-Lodge is an award-winning British journalist and the author of the widely acclaimed book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Her work primarily focuses on feminism and uncovering structural racism.
No White Saviors – The organization ‘No White Saviours’ is led by a majority female, majority African team based in Kampala, Uganda whose collective professional experience includes development and aid. They tackle ‘white saviorism’ and advocate for equitable and anti-racist structural change. “We never said “no white people”. We just know you shouldn’t be the hero of the story. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not listening”.
Blair Amadeus Imani – A bisexual and Muslim historian and author of Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream. “There’s nothing oppressive forces want more from us than silence.”
The Conscious Kid – A black and browned founded parenting and educational resources site and non-profit organization that creates resources through a “Critical Lens”. This educational nonprofit is run by a team of college-educated parents of colour.
Black Lives Matter – This one is a no-brainer. You should have been following them yesterday but if you aren’t, this is your opportunity.
2. Educate and inform yourself
Here are some books to improve your understanding of the issues surrounding racism and racial injustice:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Check Your Privilege by Myisha T. Hill
- Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognize Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla F. Saad
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
- They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
If you prefer listening to reading, tune in to these podcasts:
Self-paced courses you can do:
- Rachel Cargle’s ‘The Great Unlearn‘
3. Be mindful of what you share
Be cautious about what you post or share online when it comes to Black Lives Matter, the protests and other events. Avoid sharing photos of protestors who may be recognized later. If you’re at a demonstration and someone asks that you do not take a photo of their uncovered face, do as they ask.
Be extra cautious when sharing graphic videos of violence and images of a black person being brutally handled as this can be triggering and re-traumatise some people. Do not post that black square on your feed (you know what we’re talking about) if you are not committed to educating and informing yourself on the subject of racism and social justice as this is virtue signalling and bandwagoning at its worst.
4. Be quiet and listen
This is not the time for white and NBPOC folks to hog the mic unless they’re introducing black voices and resources to their audiences. This is not the time to make it about you. Just be quiet and listen.
You can help the black community by donating and funding organizations committed to racial justice and helping Black lives. Here’s a list of organizations to donate to:
- George Floyd Memorial Fund to support the Floyd Family
- Minnesota Freedom Fund is a community-based non-profit that shoulders criminal bail and immigration bonds for people who have been arrested while protesting police brutality.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is one of America’s top legal firms fighting for racial justice and equality.
- Unicorn Riot is a non-profit organization of artists and journalists committed to showing the world the root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues.
- The Atlanta Solidarity Fund supports people in Atlanta who have been arrested for taking action against social and racial injustice.
- Reclaim the Block is an organization founded in 2018 and they invest in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhood.
- Communities United Against Police Brutality is an organization created to deal with police brutality on an ongoing basis.
- Black Visions Collective is an organization dedicated to changing the systems of oppression and violence and sees a world where ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER.
- The Bail Project is an American nonprofit organization that pays bail for people in need, reunites families and restores the presumption of innocence.
- Know Your Rights Camp founded by Colin Kaepernick is an organization committed to the “liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization.”
- Black Lives Matter (of course!)
6. Vote wisely
Use your vote to elect racists out. We don’t need leaders who constantly stoke the fires of racism. You can help to make a change by voting in leaders who truly believe in equality, diversity and inclusivity and who actually work to implement policies that improve the lives of all. Don’t vote for those who keep turning a blind eye to social and racial injustices and abuse human rights.
If you’ve got some amazing ideas on how we can help to support the Black community, please share them below!
- 5 Inspiring American Female Political Leaders Challenging the Status Quo
- Stop Paying Lip-Service. Here’s How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion, Media and Business…
- Where’s the Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Australia’s Green Community?
- Rin Models Bringing Diversity to the Fashion and Modelling Industry
- Sustainable Fashion Has An Inclusion Issue
- Communicating Sustainable Living: Expanding the Narrative So That It’s Culturally Inclusive
- Racism in the Time of a Pandemic
Cover image by Johnny Silvercloud.