Over the past week, people have come together all over the world to protest the deaths of George Floyd, who was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck until and after Floyd became unresponsive; Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in her own home; and Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down by two white men while out jogging. These aren’t the first protests against police violence against black people — 2014 saw protests after Eric Garner and Michael Brown were killed by police officers — but violence against protestors has escalated as President Donald Trump has reacted to the protests by encouraging the use of force and promising to designate anti-fascists, who are not actually a formal organization and stand against dictatorial power, as a terrorist group.
As protests continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a list of ways you can support, participate in, and boost the struggle against police brutality and systemic racism.
Where you can donate
If you have the means, there are many resources — from bail funds to GoFundMe fundraisers for victims — that would benefit from your donation.
- Help George Floyd’s family cover funeral and burial costs as well as provide support for his children.
- Support Ahmaud Arbery’s mother and immediate family as well as their continuing legal battle.
- Donate to your local bail fund, or split your donation across 40 community bail funds to help jailed protestors. Some bail funds that have seen an influx of donations have been requesting that donations be sent elsewhere; this document keeps track of such requests and other details.
- Donate to the Bail Project, a nonprofit organization trying to lower incarceration rates through bail reform.
- Donate to the Emergency Release Fund, which supports trans protestors by posting bail for pretrial medically vulnerable individuals and anyone who identifies as LGBTQ.
- Donate to Campaign Zero, an organization that works on specific policy solutions.
- Donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which fights for structural change.
- Donate to the Ida B. Wells Society, which supports journalists of color.
- Donate to Communities United Against Police Brutality, which offers numerous resources to support the fight against police brutality.
- Donate to Reclaim the Block, which aims to redirect Minneapolis police funds to other areas of the city’s budget.
- Help demonstrators facing tear gas at protests in Minneapolis by donating to a gas mask fund.
- Donate to a resource in this Mutual Aid Document, which lists not only bail funds but individuals purchasing supplies to help keep protestors safe, and other fundraisers.
For those who may not have the means to donate time or money, YouTuber Zoe Amira put together a video spotlighting music, poetry, and art from Black artists, with all proceeds from the ad revenue going directly to charity (the full list of organizations is in the description). People across Tumblr and stan Twitter — pockets of internet communities full of teenagers who don’t have as much financial freedom — are sharing the link to help as much as they can. Simply disable your adblocker, play the video without skipping the ads, and click repeat when it’s over to add further ad revenue.
Other YouTubers have joined in to create videos with ad revenue going directly to organizations — ranging from simple makeup tutorials to conversations about race. A full playlist is available here:
How and where to protest
The easiest thing to do is to call your local representatives and demand that police spending is cut and reallocated to other areas such as education or public health. Initiatives in cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia have already set up websites with information on who to call as well as scripts to read from. Reclaim the Block has also begun a petition you can sign to ask the Minneapolis City Council to defund the police.
If you are able and feel safe to attend a protest in person, be sure to wear a mask, check the ACLU’s guidelines on protestors’ rights, and be aware of the curfews that have begun being imposed in various cities.
Vice has more advice on how to protest safely during the pandemic, and Teen Vogue has a guide on how to film police misconduct.
This website has begun keeping track of undercover police arm bands in order to help protestors identify them.
This Instagram account provides updates on protests happening in the New York area.
You can also help protestors by offering them resources like water, food, hand sanitizer, masks, and household supplies, and by sheltering protestors when curfews are enforced.
If you’re white, confront the ways you benefit from white supremacy
Many white people have responded to the most recent examples of police officers murdering Black Americans with some form of shock, saying things like “I can’t believe this is happening in 2020,” or “This isn’t America.” But police violence (and many other forms of injustice) is and has always been the reality for Black communities in this country. White supremacy pervades every corner of our society, and it’s up to white people to actively work to dismantle it.
The first step is for white people to educate ourselves on white privilege, on the experience of being Black in America, and on how to be anti-racist. But that doesn’t mean calling up Black friends and asking them to share their experiences. Instead, seek out resources on your own, especially from Black educators who are voluntarily doing that kind of work. And, most importantly, pay them for their labor. Here are a few places to get started:
- Peggy McIntosh’s essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is a good primer on the often unnoticed privileges that white people are afforded simply by virtue of being white.
- Activist and writer Rachel Cargle is creating resources “to both provide education and inspire meaningful action.” Her platform is called The Great Unlearn, and you can support her on Patreon.
- The book Me and White Supremacy by writer and speaker Layla Saad invites readers to examine the ways in which they personally benefit from white supremacy “so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”
- Mental health activist Myisha T. offers courses and workshops, as well as one-on-one coaching, through her Check Your Privilege program, “a guided journey that deepens your awareness to how your actions affect the mental health of Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color.”
- Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, put together a reading list of books to seek out that “force us to confront our self-serving beliefs and make us aware that ‘I’m not racist’ is a slogan of denial.”