“What can I do where I am?”-Toni Morrison
The last few days have seen an eruption of unrest as people across the nation protest police violence in the killing of George Floyd. Whether you don’t feel comfortable protesting because of COVID-19 or are unable to for other reasons, there are ways to be antiracist anywhere you might find yourself.
I’ve had multiple friends reach out to ask me what resources I’ve utilized in my journey to become a better ally and learn about systemic injustice. I’m not putting much of my own content into this, as I want to prioritize Black voices. However, it is not the responsibility of any marginalized person to educate the rest of us, and I wanted to put together some simple steps and resources in one place for easier access.
Where to Start
Amélie Lamont created guidetoallyship.co, which is a great introduction to how to be a good ally to any marginalized community.
Understand your rights so you can better defend those of other people—local organizations often have “Know Your Rights” training, but the ACLU has good resources for doing so from a distance.
Speak openly about your support for protestors, but DO NOT share photos or names of anyone you know who is protesting.
This Google Doc is full of resources, from petitions to sign to organizations you can donate to. It also has pertinent information on protestor safety you can share with those you know who are protesting.
Donate to the Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund Network, which helps free protestors from pretrial detention and is working to eliminate the money bail system.
This is a list of Minnesota organizations to support, but if you don’t know where to start, try searching your city on Twitter for local organizations.
Antiracist action everyday
The best way to dedicate yourself to antiracism is to continually educate yourself, and amplify the voices of others. It is okay to not know what to say. Rather than be silent, share the words of others, and increase their reach.
Listen, read, and watch
This Instagram post on antiracism has compiled some excellent resources of things to read and watch.
If you’re looking for even more, this Google Doc has many more antiracism resources.
Some of my personal favorites from these lists are NPR’s Code Switch podcast, the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and the movie I Am Not Your Negro.
Talk to your family, friends, etc.
I’ve seen a significant uptake in Instagram posts and Facebook shares from people who I’ve never seen share info about racial justice before. Although some people are quick to dismiss these posts as performative, people’s willingness to start the discussion is a good sign. This is a great opportunity to begin to discuss these issues with those in your life. Start a book club, watch a movie, have a discussion group, attend a local (or virtual!) event.
Beyond this, address racism in your life. This includes having uncomfortable conversations with those you love. Everything from microaggressions to biased comments contributes to systemic racism. Antiracism is about being willing to have uncomfortable and difficult conversations. This article has some starter tips, but you know the people in your life. What speaks to them? How can you engage them best?
Get to know your neighbors
Talk to them and agree to communicate with each other. Check your biases when you worry that someone looks “suspicious”. While large scale action is necessary, we also need to recognize that there are often alternatives to calling the police. Don’t put someone’s life at risk for something that could be solved with a conversation.
Please reach out to me if you have any additions to this list you’d like me to make. I want this to be a changing document that evolves as I take in more information.