Between the constant stream of social media, protests, and news articles – say nothing of endless conversations – it can be difficult to grasp what’s happening to the world around us. It can be difficult to know how to help.
Here are three ways to get involved in the fight for equality and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
While social media activism is a welcomed gesture that spreads news and awareness, actions always speak louder than words. Right now, people in all 50 states have taken to the streets wanting their voices to be heard and seeking justice for all of those who have been subjected to racism, brutality, and unfair treatment from their own country. If you cannot join those individuals to show your solidarity and commitment to the cause, you can donate in many ways to protesters, victims, black-owned businesses, and contributing to the Black Lives Matter movement.
You can also donate locally to the organizations in your community that are campaigning for change in your own backyard.
Black people have been subjected to gerrymandered districts in their communities, voter suppression, and being the most marginalized community in this country, you can help make the change by voting in your local and national elections. You can also sign petitions, write emails, and call your local officials to voice your disappointment in the way they are handling our current situation and the decisions leading up to it.
Listen, when people say Black lives matter, it doesn’t mean all lives don’t. Of course they do! However, not all lives continue to deal with systemic racism, financial exploitation, lack of access to medical facilities, land displacement, lack of economic opportunities, voter suppression, and general fear for their lives. The protesting is not only about George Floyd, one unarmed black man who was murdered by police with a knee to his throat for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, pleading for his life before lying motionless for the last three minutes. The protesting is about how black lives have never mattered as much to this country as others, and we’ve had enough. If you find yourself saying “It’s sad cops are killing unarmed black people but they should stop destroying property” instead of “it’s sad they’re destroying property but cops should stop killing unarmed black people”, you need to listen.
Don’t confuse empathy with guilt, even if you don’t think you’ve contributed to the problem or haven’t, you can show you truly believe in equality and help solve it. Listen to why black people are protesting, read about the laws and systems in place to prevent their voice from being heard, watch black created media to teach you the history our schools did not, and speak up to amplify the voices that have been ignored for too long.