What you are doing to create an anti-racist society? How can you stand in solidarity with the Minneapolis community?
This article was updated on June 17th, 2020.
No justice, no peace. The wrongful killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis sparked a chain of massive protests nationwide, even amidst a pandemic. The protests, however, are more than this one act of police brutality. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has protested systemic racism and police brutality since its creation in 2013, after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin. It’s important to remember that the meaning of these protests extend past this one murder. They represent the oppression of Black people ever since race, as a social construct, was created.
I want all of our readers to think about what you are doing to create an anti-racist society? How are you dismantling white supremacy within yourselves and your community? These are the questions that as a white person, I try to ask and think about on a daily basis. I think this quote from author Ibram X Kendi changes the narrative and leads the world into the right direction for change:
“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.”
The good news is that there is a lot of mobilization happening around every corner you look. The Black Lives Matter movement has spread worldwide and there are plenty of resources available for people to educate themselves and make a difference. Here are 8 ways that you can be in solidarity with the Minneapolis community:
1. Get news from those on the ground.
The mainstream media is complicit in giving a platform to those who don’t need it and exaggerating the violence of protesters. The mainstream media has also been very quiet on outside provocateurs and undercover cops who have instigated a lot of fires and destruction in Minneapolis. I have seen news sources like MSNBC give a platform to the Minnesota National Guard and police department who are the main aggressors on the frontlines. I would recommend following mainstream news sources lightly, but also continue to question headlines and statements by the police. Be sure to also get news from the ground, follow your local Black Lives Matter chapter and other community black-led organizations on social media. Also, be sure to follow local news sources. In Minneapolis specifically, The Star Tribune, The Twin Cities Pioneer Press, @blackvisionscollective, @reclaimtheblock and @unicornriot. You can also follow protesters in your area and watch videos from their point of view. This will help paint a clearer picture of what exactly is going on.
2. Get involved in your local Black Lives Matter chapter.
To find your closest Black Lives Matter chapter check out this website. After that, follow all of their social media and subscribe to any newsletters. Then, donate money or any supplies if you can. Lastly, attend any events that are happening in your area. My Black Lives Matter chapter held moving protests in cars, protests by foot, as well as online calls, and webinars. They need all of the help they can get right now so please consider donating in whatever form you can.
3. Donate to those on the frontlines and to black owned small businesses that were destroyed:
Minneapolis protesters and the community need a lot of money, supplies, and support right now. Here are a couple of organizations that you can donate to. Click on the links to learn more about them:
- Juxtaposition Arts
- Reclaim the Block (list of places recommended by them)
- Minnesota Healing Justice Network
Here are a couple of funds that go directly to small black owned businesses in the most affected areas:
4. Join a protest in your community if you are able.
Protests are happening nationwide and globally every single day. If you are able-bodied and not high risk, please consider joining one. If you are non-black and attend a protest, do not riot, do not vandalize. It is not your place to do so. Lastly, be prepared and know your rights. Wear a mask and stand in between the police and black bodies if you have to. Use water mixed with baking soda to treat tear gas and pepper spray, not milk. Do your research before attending.
5. Sign and share these petitions.
Use your platform no matter how big or small to spread awareness and action. Here are some petitions that you can sign and share right now. Signing each petition takes less than 30 seconds:
- National Black Lives Matter Call to Defund the Police
- #JusticeforFloyd: Demand the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder.
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Justice for Toyin
6. Read! Read! READ!
I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and now more than ever is the time to do some anti-racist reading! Here is a mini book recommendation list and a great place to start:
- “Between the World and Me” by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “How To Be An Anti-Racist” by: Ibram X. Kendi
- “The New Jim Crow” by: Michelle Alexander
- “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by: Patrisse Cullors
- “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by: Angela Davis
7. Learn more about your local police department, How much power do they have? How can you work to change that?
These protests are not just about the individual murder of George Floyd. The police brutalize and target black people every day. It’s the time to re-imagine and create communities that do not need the police to stay safe. First, do your research on police abolition. A common misconception is that this is sudden abolition. This is not true. It is a gradual process. One idea is that community leaders and policymakers need to first demilitarize the police and then gradually re-allocate funds to social services that are actually proven to actually make communities safer. Call your local representatives to demand defunding. Talk to people in your community about the police and their power.
8. Spark conversations with family and friends about racism and antiracism.
Anti-Racism is not usually embedded in mainstream education. The burden of educating yourself and others is on those with privilege, not black people. So if this is you, take the time to start discussions and conversations about systemic racism within yourselves and society. Don’t expect to change loved ones minds in one conversation, it’s a slow process. You need to be prepared to put in the time and effort over the course of months.
I hope this gives you a course of action. If you personally have been affected by the protests and police violence that is happening right now feel free to dm me on instagram. I am always here to listen and help in any way I can. Stay safe, speak up against injustice, and remember that No Lives Matter until Black Lives Matter.