How you can help fight racial injustice- even during a pandemic
Injustice. We see it everywhere. In our everyday lives, while we’re walking down the street, or just completing our daily routines. Injustice exists everywhere- it trickles through communities, spreading its ugliness to hundreds of thousands of people. No matter how subtle it is, injustice is injustice. Whether it’s a subtle glance of disgust or a full-blown hate crime, injustice has affected the lives of millions- for the worst. Every day, people’s confidence, people’s mentality, and even people’s physical lives are threatened, as with the murder of George Floyd in late May. Since then, thousands of protests have arisen across the United States, with millions of Americans protesting both in person and on social media- in the middle of a pandemic. The dedication of these protestors has been unprecedented, but there must be more one can do to protest injustice. There’s always something more you can do. You might ask, well how? We’re in the middle of a pandemic, how can we spark a change big enough to alter and diminish injustices for so many groups of people? Here are a few ways how:
- If you want to show your support but are afraid to openly protest in the middle of the pandemic, donating is always a good idea. Monetary support can help organizations advance their goals and thus create a better society. Here are some great organizations considering donating to, but keep in mind there are many more.
Black Lives Matter
Founded after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2013, Black Lives Matter has been at the front of it all, fighting for justice and an end to white supremacy. Click here to donate.
George Floyd Memorial Fund
This GoFundMe page was set up to help the family of George Floyd deal with any costs they might have, from funeral expenses to travel expenses and legal fees. This is a great way to help the family members who lost Floyd too soon. Click here to donate.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is here to help win court battles, from things like protecting voting rights to helping reform the criminal justice system. Click here to donate.
If there is an organization that has been fighting for social justice and change for years and years, it’s the ACLU. Not only does it fight for racial justice, but it also fights for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and so much more. Click here to donate.
The Southern Poverty Law Center
Founded in 1971 in Montgomery, Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been fighting for civil rights for decades, and its work continues to this day. Click here to donate.
2. Another great way to show support for fighting against injustice is signing petitions. Sure, it may not seem like much, but just one signature can help spark more people to sign, and soon enough you’ll have millions fighting for one cause. One person might not be able to make a difference, but millions can. And you can be part of those millions. Here are some great petitions to sign and check out.
Justice for George Floyd at change.org.
This is pretty simple: The petition is asking for justice for George Floyd’s death. The petition is hoping to get the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman. You can sign the petition here.
National Action Against Police Brutality at change.org.
One of the reasons people are in the streets protesting is to put an end to police brutality, so why not sign a petition to end it? You can sign one here.
Justice for Ahmaud Arbery at change.org.
You might remember hearing about Arbery. The 25-year-old was gunned down by a father and son in February while running in a Georgia neighborhood, according to investigators and video of the incident. Arrests came months later. This petition is asking for proper justice for Arbery. You can sign the petition here.
3. Do your job and educate yourself. You cannot engage in the fight against racism and white supremacy without taking time to understand how systems of oppression have served to benefit our lives. It is not the job of people of color to educate white people on race and privilege issues. Instead, we must take time to do the work ourselves. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. These threads of oppression are so embedded into every system in our country that educating ourselves will require genuinely digging in and pulling back so many layers. It will also require us to remain open to what we are learning. A good starting point might include consuming media that helps open eyes to racism in daily life. Forbes shared a list of anti-racist resources for white people to use to educate themselves, including books for adults and children, podcasts, social media accounts, and movies. It’s a good starting point for anyone wanting to lift up the oppressed.
4. Listen to the voices of people of color. For us to truly engage in the fight against racial injustice, we must ensure that we listen to the voices of people of color and help amplify them to the broader community. We cannot engage in the practice of allyship and serve as a white accomplice to the fight against racism if we, the white people, are doing all the talking. To be an ally, we must listen to the leadership within marginalized communities and share their messages with other white people in our space. It’s not the job of people of color to continually shout their message in hopes of being heard. Instead, it’s our job as white people to ensure that we are inviting people of color into every space and actually listening to them when it comes to racial injustices. Whether it’s our work, our home, our government, or any other area, we must magnify the voices of the oppressed and marginalized. And then we, the white folks, must deeply listen.
5. Practice Humility. Let’s face it. We love to get that pat on the back when we do something right, including when we are fighting for social justice issues. But that’s not what this is all about. Engaging in the fight against racial injustice requires white people to practice humility because this isn’t about us, and we aren’t going to get it right every time. We must be willing to admit that we don’t know it all and that we have a long way to go on this journey of allyship. Sometimes this practice of humility will look like shutting up and listening to people of color. It will require us to fight the urges to become defensive when we are called out for racism. Instead, we must work to understand why our words and actions are problematic. Other times it might require us to apologize for not getting things right. The bottom line is that if we want to truly be in solidarity with people of color, we must be willing to admit when we’re wrong and recognize that we know very little, although we often believe we know it all.
6. Besides doing your job and educating yourself, you also should educate others. Obviously, instead of judging someone for their beliefs and trying to force what you believe is right onto them, try and get them to see what you see civilly. Maybe through a conversation, or an experience that evokes emotion. What makes the world so unique and different is that people will have opinions that differ from one another. However, I draw the line in respecting somebody else’s beliefs if they don’t even support basic human rights. Sadly, there are still people who believe in white superiority and believe that some races are inferior to others. However, I have seen many instances where these people learn from other people in their world and change their beliefs and fight for what is right. In many instances, this happens when a parent(s) raises their child in a very conservative, closed-minded environment. The child, as a result, believes in only what their parents think because they don’t know anything else. That’s why it’s so important to educate kids young. No one is born with hate in their heart; hate is taught. Kids grow up with the beliefs they have because their main influence comes from their parents. Do your part and educate, but not impose your beliefs.
Change is gradual. We see from history just how slow it can be- sometimes even taking hundreds of years. One protest, one event, one signature is unfortunately not quite enough to change the injustices and prejudices that exist in society today. Is this fair? Of course not. But just one action can culminate into millions of people taking action, and that is how change is brought forward. The time will come. One day we will have enough people accepting and loving enough to embrace everyone, regardless of gender, race, and sexuality. One day, we’ll have a leader who is willing to listen to all of those who have been oppressed under an unjust system, and that leader will pave the way to change. That day is yet to come, but in the meantime, do your part, and the good will come later.