black lives matter: how to help
As a young woman of colour, I am still aghast with the racism that persists today. With the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police brutality by their misuse of powers, it is now more important than ever to know how you can help in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. This article will show the importance in getting behind the movement, and speaking up against bodies that are filled with institutionalised racism inflicting harm on others. No matter how “uncomfortable” these issues may make you, it is more vital than ever to not be ignorant to the sufferings of other people. Educate yourself and do your bit to help.
I want to first start with the seriousness of this issue, especially to white readers. This is not a circumstance where you think something is not a problem because you are not personally affected by it. Understand that your white privilege has paved an easier road for you in life compared to your friends of colour. Not easy, but easier. You have not faced the hardships others have faced based on the colour of your skin. Life has not disadvantaged you this way. Similarly, to non-black readers, it must be understood that black people face a different type of racism and violence that other people of colour do not face. This problem must be recognised in order to change the issues present. It is therefore your job to educate yourself on these issues in order to induce change.
HOW TO BE AN ALLY
This is the most important step in order to help: understand and learn what is going on. Don’t rely on your black friends to educate you - it is your responsibility to read and comprehend the seriousness of the situation. Whilst many people are reposting BLM posts on their instagram stories; this is simply not enough. You need to understand how public and private bodies are contributing to racism and how it is affecting people. Take your time to do it properly.
Racism isn’t always obvious; anti-blackness can be very discreet in language. Start to pay attention to coded language. What do white people in positions of power really mean when they say “good neighbourhood” or “good school”? The fact it’s filled with mainly white, middle-class people? Likewise, when Trump tweeted about how white supremacists protesting were “very fine people”, but people of colour protesting were “thugs”. Language is full of implications, so make sure to read in-between the lines to understand what’s really being said, and not accept it at face value.
Whilst these conversations may be uncomfortable, they are important. Call out your friends and family when they say something problematic, otherwise your silence on their negative remarks will be seen as legitimisation. However, try not be defensive, as this can cause the same fired up reaction in others. You don’t need to start arguments, but simply try and educate others on how what they said is considered to be problematic, and the implications that may have on others. It’s vital to fact-check each other.
Here are some links of educational resources:
HOW TO HELP
Not all protesting involves crowds clashing with the police as mainstream media shows. However, if you do protest, here's an article on how to do so safely. Otherwise, there are many alternative forms of social action that individuals can do to promote change. Examples of such include being active on social media - post relevant material to show the seriousness of the situation, along with petitions and donation links that your friends and family can also get involved in. Reposting social media posts regarding BLM for the sake of it can be problematic: it can diminish the movement by making it appear as a passing trend. Make sure you back up what you post with productive links towards social change. You can also make your own online content for others to see, and give educational and informative talks to people when given the opportunity to. All these small acts build up to something big.
It takes less than one minute to sign a petition, and your contribution can mean a lot. There truly is strength in numbers.
Here are some petitions to sign below:
#JusticeforFloyd - demand police who killed George Floyd are charged with murder
Police Officers to be charged for murder after killing George Floyd
A lot of the victims that die at the hands of police brutality often leave behind vulnerable families that struggle to pay for unexpected funeral and legal costs. Likewise, there are some cases where arrested protesters may be unable to afford bail. Through leaving donations, you are directly helping family and friends of the people involved. Make sure that the donation pages you find are legitimate!
Here are some donation pages below:
Here are some UK donation pages:
In short, it’s not difficult to become educated in these issues and help out through various means. Through understanding the problems minority groups face, we can work together towards eliminating prejudiced attitudes and behaviour that are inflicted upon others. Read the news, start conversations, share links, donate if possible, and support black people.
Remember: Black Lives Matter.