HOW TO BE ACTIVE IN THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
This post serves as a joint article between Teresa and Sam, in which we provide select resources to stay active in the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognize that many lists can be overwhelming, and wanted to explain and highlight petitions, places to donate, and books that we find particularly important. In recent days, we have been disappointed by much of the performative activism that has been circulating and hope to facilitate a community in which people are continuously educating and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement beyond their computer screens.
PETITIONS AND EMAILING ELECTED OFFICIALS
The most effective way to make change is to take action. Here is a thread of petitions you probably haven’t signed, and here is the petition to arrest the cops who wrongfully raided Breonna Taylor’s home and killed her. Also, DO NOT donate money to change.org, as they are a private company and will not use all your funds to support the petition/foundation.
Here is a tool that lets you contact your elected officials about reallocating police budgets with a click of a button. The list of cities is growing.
PLACES TO DONATE
Places such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, New York Bail Fund, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, The Northstar Health Collective and the Chicago Community Bond Fund have received overwhelming donations in recent days. While these organizations should continue to receive support, there are many smaller organizations that need support as well. To donate to the following organizations, please click on the hyperlinks provided.
If you do not have the funds to donate, please play this video on the YouTube App or on your desktop browser. 100% of the ad revenue will be dispersed between various BLM organizations. Do not skip ads or pause the video. Watch the video in its highest quality. If you’re planning on repeating the video, you have to watch 3-5 videos in between. There’s a pinned comment on the video that explains this in better detail!
In addition, here is a thread of local mutual aid funds you can donate to.
“Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. We strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.”
“Assata’s Daughters (“AD”) is a Black woman-led, young person-directed organization rooted in the Black Radical Tradition. AD organizes young Black people in Chicago by providing them with political education, leadership development, mentorship, and revolutionary services.”
“We are a Black-led immigrant organization that works at the intersection of Blackness and immigration. Our work includes: mutual aid support; deportation and detention defense; local, state and federal policy and resource sharing including legal support.”
“BlackTableArts seeks to conjure and cultivate other worlds through Black art by connecting creatives and cultivating volume in Black Life. Black Table Arts is a hub and home for Black art. We are a blog community and arts organization.”
“The Black Trans Travel Fund pays for car ride services for Black trans women in NYC and NJ to help them access self-determined, safer alternatives to travel.”
“CTUL is a worker-led organization where workers organize, educate and empower each other to fight for a voice in their workplaces and in their communities. We partner with other organizations and leaders to build a movement to win racial, gender and economic justice. We identify the root causes of injustice and work to shift the balance of power between those who have it and those who don’t to improve the lives of our communities for present and future generations.”
“On the evening of May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police. Thousands of people have come to the street to protest and make their voices heard. Following the beautiful peaceful protests, riots overtook the city and the Lake Street Corridor: a beacon for multiculturalism, Black and brown entrepreneurship and the rise of family owned businesses. Much is lost. Du Nord is establishing this fund to support Black and brown companies affected by the riots. In the coming days we will add to the leadership team to bring in more business owners and community leaders. We are dedicated to rebuilding Minneapolis in a way that ensures our cultural beacons are restored.”
It should not be difficult to recognize the wrongful deaths of those such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. However, it takes more work to become educated about the history of race in the United States, as well as what systematic oppression really means. Here are a few books that shed light on these topics, because failure to understand race in the United States is also a failure to bring about real change. Each book is hyperlinked to a local Black-owned bookstore, with a more complete list here.
I would recommend following Noname Book Club on Twitter, if you want to continuously receive recommendations on your feed for books on race. Also, Verso Books has free books on their site right now, so you don’t even have to Pirate it. These include Police: A Field Guide by David Correia and Tyler Wall and The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale. Download the Ebooks!
Race Matters aims to address the core of despair at the heart of Black America. Cornel West is one of the most prominent and inflectional Black voices of our time, and Race Matters was the book that catapulted him into the public consciousness. If you are not familiar with his view of the moral and racial failings of the United states, it’s time to read. West wrote Race Matters in 1993 and it is startling how many of the issues he addresses in the book are still true today. West introduces the concept of Black nihilism that arises as a result of institutional and social biases in America. This Black nihilism is a powerful force and lies behind many social and political issues in this country and without an understanding of where it comes from it is impossible to really understand race. West is also a socialist, so his views on race are colored by fight or economic equality as well as political and social. His socialist leanings help him to identify points that are often missed by democrats and republicans and also allow him to address a greater spirituality that underlies Black politics. Race Matters set the stage for West, and if you enjoy this book check out any of his future writing.
There have been a lot of Martin Luther King quotes circulating around the internet during this time, but I think Malcolm speaks a lot better to this particular moment. Malcolm X Speaks is a collection of Malcolm X speeches that goes far beyond what you may know of him. This book shows the evolution of the character and the power of his words toward the end of his life. The book consists of 15 speeches given between the years 1964-1965 just a couple months before his death. All of these speeches occur after X left the Nation of Islam and show a more global perspective toward racial justice. The global oppression of Black and brown people is important to remember at a time like this. It is important to remember that anti-Blackness exists globally, and, in his speeches, X explains why perfectly. Led by a renewed spirituality, Malcolm X preaches a comprehensive and aggressive path toward racial justice. If you are looking for a speech to start with “The Ballot or the Bullet” is a great representation of his style and speaks to why he was such an effective spokesman for the cause.
You may have heard people say, “we should keep our business in our communities” or “support Black banks” but not completely understand what that means. In The Color of Money, Baradaran breaks down what these two phrases mean and why keeping money in the Black community is both more complicated and difficult than it may seem. She begins by giving a history lesson on Black wealth accumulation and explains why it has been nearly impossible for Black owned banks to stay alive. She then demonstrates how dangerous it can be for Black Americans to take their money out of circulation and focus only on Black communities. This text shows the complex ways in which American capitalism was built on the exploitation of Black labor, and how the way Black people in America can acquire and use money is inherently different from the ways in which whites can.
If you are white, middle-class and call yourself a feminist then this book is required reading. Women, Race and Class was written by the legendary speaker, author and civil rights icon Angela Davis and although it was released nearly 40 years ago its lessons are still relevant today. Women, Race and Class traces the role of Black women in American society from slavery up until the modern day. This book fights against the ideas of the white feminist through analyzing how the ideas of Black women have been silenced in the world and in civil rights movements throughout the years. Davis makes it clear that even if you are the most passionate feminist in the world you can be (and often are) racist. Davis makes us examine larger social movements and the change they created in terms of the privileges of their leaders. Most of these leaders have been male, and in feminist history the leaders have often been white. Because many of the leaders of civil rights movements had these privileges, the changes they created left out many of the truly oppressed. She elaborates on the concept of a “triple oppression” which makes Black women the most discriminated against group in society.
Dorothy Roberts’ Fatal Invention examines the misconception that race is biological and is continuously framed as such through genetic testing, DNA databases, and medicine. Roberts argues that race is actually a social construct that produces differences in opportunities and experiences. Roberts backs up her claim by tracing the history of criminology, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and other ways in which race has been used as a medium for power. Roberts also discusses the way that modern medicine continues to perpetuate false conceptions about race, as certain forms of medicine and testing discriminate among race groups. Dorothy Roberts is a groundbreaking professor in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and teaches classes ranging from race theory, biosocial science, and criminal law.