As the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black people at the hands of police has grown increasingly intense, many are wondering how they can help those being arrested during peaceful demonstrations — and also support the movement virtually while protecting themselves from an ongoing pandemic that continues to hit the U.S.
Aside from peaceful, in-person protests, the two main outlets for supporting the new wave of a civil rights movement are through various forms of petitioning and making donations to key civil rights and racial justice organizations. Here is a breakdown of how both individuals and brands can take action now to positively support the Black Lives Matter movement:
Petition effectively, in justice for Floyd and for long-term reform
- The Change.org petition demanding justice for George Floyd is now the largest petition in the organization’s history, currently with more than 10 million individual signatures. While former police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the petition is still demanding the the remaining three police officers also be held accountable.
- Color of Change’s own petition seeking #justiceforfloyd has also helped to move the case from Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. It also continues to demand accountability for the remaining police officers.
- Campaign Zero is proposing a package of 10 specific policy solutions, including training, community representation, independent investigation and fair police union contracts to change the way police serve communities. The organization includes a call-to-action button for individuals to demand action from local representatives.
- Minneapolis organization Reclaim the Block has created a petition demanding a redirection of funds from the Minneapolis Police Department, to be invested in community-based organizations that promote the wellness and safety of the city’s black communities.
- Get involved with your local Black Lives Matter chapter — or start your own. The organization is encouraging people to start chapters in areas where there is little to no representation. It also has a handful of petitions on its site demanding more racial research and data related to the coronavirus.
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Donate to organizations that help protestors, enact policy reform and give a voice to minorities
- The non-profit Minnesota Freedom Fund provides funds to protestors and bails out those who have been jailed for protesting.
- To date, The Bail Project has provided bail for 10,545 people to combat racial and economic disparities in the bail system.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund uses litigation, advocacy and public education for racial justice. Its Thurgood Marshall Institute is currently focusing on advocacy against foreclosures, evictions and utility cutoffs in black communities during the pandemic.
- The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund has bailed out more than 5,000 people since its 2015 inception.
- The Minnesota-based Black Visions Collective has been a key organizer for the state’s emerging black leadership.