I’m not a protestor. I’m not that likely to create a sign, drive into the city, and stand in a crowd shouting and marching. There is nothing wrong with that. Every movement is like a machine with multiple parts working together to make it run.
The images we typically see about the Civil Rights Movement are those who marched, protested, sat in at deli counters, endured being beatings, hoses turned on them, dogs biting them, and being arrested. They were truly heroes of the movement.
There were other heroes as well. Those heroes made sandwiches for the marchers, spent money to bail arrestees out of jail, tended to wounds, spread the word, helped educate people, and a host of other things that weren’t captured in photos and aren’t used to symbolize the movement but they were absolutely necessary.
Every movement has its players:
Your particular place in this movement may not be as a protestor. This will take a team effort and there is a place on the team for you that doesn’t have to be the front line.
If you’re not a front liner, like me, I’ve put together some resources and ideas to help you get involved in other ways. I hope this is helpful. If you know of more resources, please drop them in the comment.
nurturers, healers, custodians
If you are a nurturer, you can volunteer to make bagged meals and bottled water to deliver and donate to protestors.
If you are a therapist or mental health expert, consider offering your services to individuals who have witnessed brutality or who are mentally weary.
As a custodian of the movement, you can volunteer to come to the site of protests the next day and help with the clean up efforts.
There are a number of companies organizing and taking action behind the scenes.
Join Color of Change, an organization that designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward
Sign up to join the Black Lives Matter Movement. You can sign up to be notified when a new petition circulates, hashtag campaigns are launched, rallies are organized, etc.
Show Up For Racial Justice. This is an organization is “a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.”
Donate to Color of Change – “when you donate, you help us take on more winning campaigns, launch more strategic initiatives, and go after the people who are standing in the way of progress—for Black people and all people”
Donate to The Bail Project – “The Bail Project™ National Revolving Bail Fund is on a mission to combat mass incarceration and reshape the pretrial system in the United States. 100% of online donations are used to bring people home.”
Pledge funds to the ACLU – their mission “is to realize the promise of the United States Constitution for all, and expand the reach of its guarantees.”
Pledge funds to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Your donation goes to the “ongoing fight to end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.”
Check on your local elections, get to know your elected officials. ALL OF THEM.
Register to vote. It’s important now more than ever to elect leaders who are aligned with the goal of social justice and equality.
Spend a little time on BallotPedia getting familiar with upcoming elections and details about what’s on the ballot in your area.
Check out OntheIssues.Org, a website that details each politicians stance on major issues such as Education, Crime, Drugs, Abortion, Budget, Foreign Policy, Gun Control, etc.
Get educated on where your elected officials stand on the 10 Categories for change being pushed by Campaign Zero to hold police accountable and end police brutality. If you click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page, you can find out which of these categories have laws that have been passed in your state. You can also enter your address and find your state representative to reach out.
Run for office, get inside the system to change it!
Stop by Run For Office, a database of open elected offices across the nation. They also have a free online course on How To Run For Office.
If you’re on the fence or never quite considered it, check out this blog post and decide Should You Run For Local Office?
EDUCATORS and Amplifiers
Learn as much as you can about the issues that impact social justice and amplify those learnings by sharing them on any platform you can.
A few books I am planning to read to educate and amplify the issues are below:
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race
STAMPED: Racism, AntiRacism, and You
The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces
I also came across this really great list of education resources that include talks, movies, books, articles, etc. It’s titled Anti-Racism Resources for White People, but quite honestly, I believe it’s for everyone. I saw quite a few resources in this list that I need to dive into myself.
I hope this list was helpful and that you find your place in the movement. Even just sharing these resources is helping to further the efforts to make America a great place for all people. If you have a blog, write your own list of ways to help. There are so many ways you can participate in this movement. I hope to see you on either the front lines or behind the scenes!