The #BlackLivesMatter hype is watering down and the media’s attention is shifting. The fact that these topics are trending less and less only confirms that it’s now more than ever crucial to express your allyship in effective ways. I’ve compiled a list of 6 things you can do to support the Black Lives Matter movement that are effortless even for someone with muscular dystrophy like me. No excuses – it’s time to get up your proverbial ass and take action!
If you have the financial means to do so, donating money to a charity is a great way to contribute in a tangible way. This doesn’t mean you have to make huge donations to make a difference, consider donating just one or two cups of coffee a month for example. This helps towards paying for salaries that keep the charity afloat and help them to do their work, especially when we collectively give small amounts. Keep in mind that it’s better to give a certain periodical sum, be it small, and intend to continue doing so for a while than to donate one single amount and leave it at that.
New York Magazine compiled a list of 142 organisations you can donate to that support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Can’t donate? No problem! Supporting the movement financially doesn’t mean you have to necessarily pull out your wallet. Streaming Zoe Amira’s playlist for example directly contributes to charities connected to the Black Lives Matter movement. The creators featured on this playlist are donating their ad-revenue (which you’re helping to provide) to organisations and charities. Easy-breezy and did I mention it’s free? All it takes is a bit of wifi and just one more open tab with audio playing – heaven knows I personally have at least three of those open at any given time so surely it won’t hurt to add a fourth to that. Just make sure you don’t skip through ads (obviously) and you don’t mute the audio.
3. Buy from Black-owned businesses
By buying from Black-owned businesses you’re directly supporting the community and helping people at an individual level. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid or “punish” White-owned businesses. It just means you’re consciously contributing in creating wealth and favourable circumstances for businesses that possibly didn’t receive the same funding or opportunities as their White-owned counterparts.
Take a look around you; are there any Black-owned businesses or restaurants in your area that you could turn to the next time you need something? Or are you more like me and rather shop online? If so, the global marketplace Etsy for example has recently highlighted Black-owned Etsy shops that are definitely worth checking out. Please keep our environment in mind and think twice before buying unnecessary items, but you can create a habit out of choosing more consciously where to shop in the future!
4. Use your voice
Wherever you live, whatever elections or polls are being held, support local political movements and vote for parties that are actively standing up against racism. Read up on local politics and make thoughtful choices to support parties that mirror your view on racism and put words into action.
Obviously the 2020 United States presidential elections are coming up, but we shouldn’t fall victim to laziness and just sit back to watch how that folds out. Of course we should stay informed on global politics, but we should also realise where our voices hold most power: locally. I personally consider the ability and freedom to vote not just a right, but also a duty. Use your voice and sign up to vote anytime you get the chance!
5. Demand political change
Don’t want to wait for the next election or poll to speak up? You can write letters or emails to government officials at any time, even from the comfort of your own bed, and speak up about certain local laws or lack thereof. Demand them to take action and point out things you want to see improved. Try to present solutions; either ones that you’ve thought of yourself or ones you heard about and wish to support. They can’t ignore their people collectively expressing the request to change, and it only means we have to chant louder if they still are.
Not everyone has the privilege to be able to express their political views or openly disagree with politicians, so be grateful if you do and make sure to use that freedom in honour of others who can’t.
6. Educate yourself
To ensure actual change, beyond some temporary turmoil and social media trends, we have to actively examine and properly address hidden biases and prejudices. Keep educating yourself, shake up your belief system and learn more about systemic racism and white privilege. Netflix has put together a great collection of movies and shows to educate yourself on racial injustice which you can find here. Are you a bookworm like me? I recently discovered Sajda’s Instagram account (@sajdareads) and she has shared her favourite books people can read to learn more about what the Black community is currently going through, check out her recommendations here. The Harvard Gazette has also shared a reading list on issues of race which I urge you to check out here.
Learning more about privileges you have doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a racist. It’s what happens next that defines you; do you use your newly found knowledge to be a better ally for the Black community or do you stay passive and keep reaping the benefits of this faulty system? In case you need to hear this today: you’re not a hypocrite for learning new things and developing new viewpoints. Add sentences like “I hadn’t thought of it like that, I understand better now” and “I should do more research before I argue this point” to your vocabulary and notice how the conversations shift. – Source
Also, don’t forget to bring this knowledge to the table when having conversations with people around you. Knowledge is priceless, but it’s even more valuable when being shared. Spread the word and share what you’ve learned!
I realise that none of this is new or groundbreaking information and perhaps you’ve heard all of this already a thousand times over. However, repetition is key and I (sadly) don’t think that this core message will be redundant anytime soon. I’m satisfied if this post can reach even just one person who finds it useful and who decides to act on it.
White supremacy won’t die until White people see it as a White issue they need to solve, rather than a Black issue they need to emphasise with.