I know that a lot of people out there are really upset and angry right now about the murder of George Floyd and the systemic racism that has been allowed to go on for too long. But a lot of people who are feeling these things (myself included) don’t really know what to do about it, or how to channel that anger and upset. As such, I’ve put together a list of resources and ideas so that you can get involved and speak out about injustice.
(Please note: I am NOT an expert by any means; please listen to black voices and experienced protesters. I am just trying to point people in the right direction.)
1. Attend a protest
Whether you do this in person or online (as many of us are still stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic), this is the most obvious and tangible way to show up for the movement. If you do attend a protest in person, please be cautious – both in terms of social distancing to avoid transmission, and personal safety with regards to police and anyone else who may act violently. There is lots of good advice for protesters here.
2. Sign petitions and donate
For a lot of reasons, protesting is not an option for some people. In which case, the next best thing is speaking up online. Social media is a powerful tool, and enables everyone who has access to it to have a voice. Use that voice to spread awareness, show solidarity, and most importantly, share links to where others can make a difference.
This is a great website that has links to all sorts of resources like petitions, places to donate to, advice for protesters, and more. One great organisation you can donate to is the Minnesota Freedom Fund – check out their Twitter and their website for more info.
3. Speak up
If you are a white ally like me, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference. You have access to all-white spaces (whether that’s family, workplaces, clubs, sports teams, etc), where inappropriate comments may go unchecked. Use that privilege for good and speak up when someone says something that’s not okay. It can be really hard to start a confrontation, especially with people you love and respect, but it’s so important that you do. We have to show up for the causes we believe in, the communities that we are allies to – especially when no-one from those communities is around to hear what you’re hearing or see what you’re seeing. Otherwise, our allyship is just performative.
4. Address local issues
Although having started in America, these protests are now taking place all over the world. If the issues faced in the States aren’t the same as the issues faced where you are, use this as a catalyst to address racism in your area or country. Demand justice for George Floyd and all others like him, AND let your politicians know that racism will not be tolerated in ANY form, in ANY location. Get involved in the anti-racist conversation wherever you are.
5. Lobby politicians and decision makers
Serious systemic changes need to be made around the world to address racism, so an important step is contacting the people who make those decisions. Email your MP, senator, mayor, any leader of a constituency that you belong to. Let them know what needs to be done and that we will not rest until it is done. Make it impossible for them to ignore this issue any longer.
6. Educate yourself
There are countless books, articles, videos, and other media out there where you can learn about racism and how to stand up against it. You may think that you are pretty clued up already, but there is always more we can do and more we can learn. Below are some good book recommendations to start with. If you are going to buy any of these books, please try to get them from independent bookshops, especially black-owned ones. I have included links to Waterstones if buying indie isn’t possible. Also consider ebooks (which can also be borrowed from your library!) or borrowing a copy from a friend:
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Natives by Akala
Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
There are so many other things you can do and ways you can help, but I am not an authority on this, and I don’t claim to speak for anyone, so this list is by no means perfect or exhaustive. Listen to black voices. Support black businesses. Educate yourself on the things that are happening and hear what is being said. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.