100 ways you can take action against racism right now
As protests continue over George Floyd’s death and the continued mistreatment of Black Americans at the hands of police, many are looking for ways to demand justice while staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in police custody May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
The horrifying bystander video of Floyd’s death spread quickly on social media, showing the officer driving his knee into Floyd’s neck as the handcuffed man repeatedly says he can’t breathe.
Four officers involved in the incident were fired, and on May 29, former officer Derek Chauvin was arrested, days after the video surfaced.
If you’re looking to get involved outside of organizing in person, we’ve rounded up a list of ways you can take action from home, including ideas specific to demanding justice for Floyd and addressing racism in general:
Contact state and local leaders
1. Send a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requesting justice, accountability and/or policing changes.
2. Send a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requesting justice, accountability and/or policing changes.
3. Make a call to Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 to request justice.
4. Call Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 651-296-3353.
5. Call Gov. Walz at 651-201-3400.
6. Contact mayor of Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser at [email protected] or 202-727-2643.
7. Contact Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at [email protected]
8. Contact California Gov. Gavin Newsom via online submission or by phone at 916-445-2841.
9. Contact New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio via online submission here.
10. Contact New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo via online submission here or at 518-474-8390.
11. Contact Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer online here or at 502-574-2003.
12. Contact Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear online here or at 502-564-2611.
13. Contact Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez at 305-468-5900.
14. Contact Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis online here or at 850-717-9337.
15. Contact Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at [email protected] or 404-330-6054.
16. Call or send letters to your local politicians and leaders in your state or city if there are issues you would like to see addressed.
Sign a petition
17. Justice for George Floyd on change.org
This petition began as a way to demand the officers involved were charged. Now that they’ve been charged, it aims to demand a “fair judicial process that results in justice and in the conviction of George Floyd’s murderers.” As of July 8, more than 18 million have signed.
18. Demand Justice for Elijah McClain on act.colorofchange.org
This petition is to “call on (Colorado) Attorney General Phil Weiser to stand up for what is right and file criminal charges against the officers who murdered Elijah McClain,” a 23-year-old Black man who died in police custody last year. You can also sign by texting “Elijah” to 55156.
19. Justice for Breonna Taylor on change.org
This petition calls for the justice of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman who died in her apartment after being shot at least eight times by Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police in March.
20. #DefundThePolice petition by Black Lives Matter
This petition aims to “demand acknowledgment and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of Black life at the hands of the police.”
21. #JusticeforBigFloyd petition by the Grassroots Law Project
This petition aims to demand justice for George Floyd and his family. “When you sign, our platform will automatically send your message to Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman,” the website says.
22. NAACP Legal Defense Fund petition for George Floyd
This petition insists “that officials ensure safe policing in times of unrest.”
23. Contribute to a video petition organized by colorofchange.org by filming a video of yourself demanding justice for Floyd.
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24. Equal Justice Initiative
This non-profit organization aims to “end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.” Donations help support their cause, which includes challenging racial and economic injustices and protecting “basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”
25. Kids of Colour
This platform helps young people of color to explore race, identity and culture as well as challenge everyday and institutionalized racism. Donations go toward “event/workshop costs; resources; project activity and ensuring young people who support can be paid or rewarded for their time,” according to its fundraising page.
This initiative provides direct support to New York City-based activists, including supplies for protesters and bail assistance.
27. Racial Justice Network
This is a “multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines,” according to its website. Donations go toward community support, events and galas focused on reparations, crisis response efforts and more.
28. Communities United Against Police Brutality
This Twin Cities-based organization accepts donations via mail or PayPal for “office costs, cop watch equipment, court filing fees and other expenses.”
29. Unicorn Riot
This is a non-profit media organization dedicated to “exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world,” according to its website.
30. The Minnesota Healing Justice Network
This network provides a “supportive professional community and mutual aid network for wellness and healing justice practitioners who also identify as indigenous, Black or people of color,” according to its website. They accept donations.
31. The Marshall Project
This is a non-profit journalism organization that focuses on criminal justice. Donations help support the group’s goal to “establish facts, expose failures and examine solutions for a criminal justice system in crisis.”
32. Your local bond/bail fund
Many organizations in states and cities across the country accept donations that go to paying bail/bond and are also fighting to abolish the money bail system and pretrial detention. The National Bail Fund Network has a directory of community bail funds, and as protests continue in Atlanta, Miami, New York and other major cities, the Georgia Immigration Bond Fund, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund and the Emergency Release Fund are requesting donations.
33. Black Visions Collective
This Minnesota-based group focuses on “healing and transformative justice principles” and leads “targeted collaborative local campaigns” in the state.
34. Spiral Collective
This QTPOC-centered reproductive justice collective helps in “providing free, compassionate, non-judgmental support to the full-spectrum of people across all pregnancy outcomes & reproductive experiences.”
35. Northstar Health Collective
This organization works “in alliance with mainstream and anti-authoritarian organizations to create safe and healthy events.” You can support through written/mailed checks or through PayPal.
36. Reclaim the Block
This coalition seeks to “demand that Minneapolis divest from policing and invest in long-term alternatives,” according to its Twitter bio. Donations help support the coalition’s work to “make sure that our communities have the resources they need to thrive.”
37. Black Table Arts
This organization helps “Black communities through the arts, towards better Black futures,” according to its website. They accept donations and also have merchandise for sale.
38. Black Girls Code
This nonprofit organization offers workshops, programs and other access to Black girls interested in learning about computer programming. They accept donations and also have a signup for volunteers.
This grassroots nonprofit organization works to “promote the well-being and empowerment of Somali women in Minnesota and beyond,” according to its website. Donations help “women and girls lead healthier, more productive lives.”
40. ERASE Racism
This Long Island, New York-based organization “leads public policy advocacy campaigns and related initiatives to promote racial equity in areas such as housing, public school education, and community development,” according to their website.
41. Campaign Zero
Donating to this organization helps “support advocacy for policy solutions to end police violence in America.”
42. The National Black Justice Coalition
This civil rights organization is “dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
43. Emergency Release Fund
100% of your donations to this group is used to “post bail for trans persons at risk of injury and death.”
44. The African American Police Forum
You can support this social justice think tank by giving donations to several campaigns and projects, including #SayHerName, #HerDreamDeferred, Breaking the Silence Summer Camp and National #BreakingSilence Town Hall Series.
45. Southern Poverty Law Center
Donations help “win justice on behalf of those who have no other champion, expose and fight the hate that thrives in our country, and provide tolerance education materials free of charge to schools across our nation.”
Provide resources for protesters, local communities
46. Women for Political Change
The nonpartisan University of Minnesota student group is collecting donations for protesters. See the Facebook page for details.
47. Hunger Solutions
You can help provide basics for protesters and affected communities. This Minnesota-based organization works to end hunger statewide and collaborates with state and local government to “advance programs that tackle hunger on the large scale.”
48. The ACLU has a helpful guide for knowing your rights if you’re organizing a protest.
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49. Thresholds provides “housing, health care, and hope for persons with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois.” They accept online donations.
50. Food bank donations are crucial. Food Finder and Feeding America are helpful places to narrow your search for local food banks.
51. Donate to local homeless shelter
With curfews in effect in some major cities and protests filling the streets, communities of people experiencing homelessness can be displaced. Search for and donate to local shelters and organizations – there are even charities that will pick up your donations for free.
52. Help clean up communities that have seen large protests. Check local community news sites for details on clean-up. Here is an example in Chicago.
53. Get involved with your local Black Lives Matter chapter.
54. Volunteer online with the United Nations and their “Let’s Fight Racism” initiative.
55. Volunteer at ERASE Racism (Long Island-based).
56. Volunteer with Rock the Vote to help people register to vote.
Learn ways to be actively anti-racist
57. Combat microaggressions in the workplace
A microaggression, which is defined by Merriam Webster as “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group,” can cause harm in workplace environments. Addressing these statements directly can help people realize the real meaning behind their “jokes” and comments.
58. Work to eliminate hiring bias in the workplace
Katherine McNamee, the HR director at the American Alliance of Museums, offers tips at www.shrm.org, search eliminate racism.
59. Engage in productive discussions in the workplace
Arranging meetings to continue discussions around workplace equality beyond one-time training is a good idea, according to SHRM’s Arlene Hirsch. “Training is not a silver bullet; it’s the beginning of an ongoing discussion,” Hirsch writes.
60. Urge schools to integrate diversity into the curriculum
Teachers can help educate students on racism, incorporating diversity and inclusion into their curriculum.
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61. Encourage students to study diverse historical figures
The United Nations suggests that students study “the stories of famous people who have fought against discrimination. Study the contributions made by people from all parts of the world to the common stock of human knowledge and experience. Introduce as much cultural diversity as possible into the curriculum.”
62. Bring diverse voices into schools/ Volunteer to be a speaker
“Invite people of other races or colors who are active in community work to speak to the class about what they do,” the United Nations also suggests.
63. Read about race
Talking to kids about complex world issues can be tough, but these books can help young people learn in a gentle, thoughtful way.
64. Activities that teach about race/racism
The “National Black Lives Matter At School” network of educators and supporters has activity guides with kid-friendly language that help educate about race.
65. More resources for kids
The D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice website also has resources for kids and teens.
66. Address racism and microaggressions at home with family, friends
“The key way to be antiracist is to name, interrupt, and counter racist ideas and actions in our everyday lives,” Dr. Amanda Taylor, senior adjunct professorial lecturer, School of International Service at American University, told USA TODAY.
67. Tips for calling out family and friends in person
Amnesty International suggests using “I” statements when confronting a family member or friend. “Rather than saying ‘You’re a racist,’ talk about how those comments are impacting you and how you are feeling about it,” their website states. They also suggest clarifying the other person’s stance, talking to them quietly and not getting too aggressive, which may lessen the effectiveness of you “persuasive powers.”
68. Tips for calling out family and friends online
Amnesty International has a couple of suggestions for dealing with racists online, which include “Deleting or blocking them,” “sharing a link that explains the holes in their views” or “taking a similar approach to the tips above for real-life conversations.”
69. Influence people in your group
It’s great to call people out on racist comments, but don’t stop there. You can also preemptively help educate others by talking to people in your own life about how systems of oppression affect marginalized groups.
70. Demand change from brands
Your wallet can be your power when it comes to taking action. For-profit brands need customers to make revenue, so using your purchasing power and your platform on social media and with reviews are ways to push brands into enacting change you would like to see.
71. Question the media outlets you read
Are media outlets sharing statements of solidarity but not actually contributing to diverse newsrooms? As readers, you can question and share your opinions and concerns on the content provided. Sharing job postings and internship opportunities within your communities also helps give more people the chance to make their voices part of a larger outlet.
72. Understand privilege
“It is also important, as white people, for us to remember that we will never ‘get it.’ We are all subject to racist ideas and we will never fully understand the experience of our Black community members, no matter how much we read, study, think or learn, or how many Black friends we have, or even if we have Black romantic partners or children,” Taylor said.
73. Question yourself about privilege
In order to understand privilege, you can ask yourself questions. For example, were you ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation? Also consider your own possible racial biases, which may be implicit even though you think you are being open-minded.
74. Actively acknowledge and support members of the LGBTQ+ communities
Part of the movements and protests is to create space for all marginalized people to share their voices, especially for Black people who also identify as LGBTQ+. Making space, amplifying those voices and defending people in LGBTQ+ communities is multifaceted, whether that’s having honest conversations with those closest to you or supporting organizations and brands that provide safe spaces.
75. Do the research
“It is equally vital that all of us, and white folks, in particular, do the ongoing personal work to read and educate ourselves on the ways that racism shows up in our own lives, neighborhoods, schools, and communities,” Taylor said. Research your state’s civil rights history to be better informed about your community’s legacy and racial roots.
76. Avoid being silent
“Particularly white people who want to be allies, stop it, call it out. Say, ‘That’s not funny.’ Silence looks a lot like complicity,” Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Director of the Center for Advanced Policing and Assistant Provost of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of New Haven Lorenzo Boyd told USA TODAY. “You have to physically say, ‘That’s not cool, you can’t say that.’ “
77. Accept you’ll make mistakes and apologize
“Recognize that you might mess up, and if you do, apologize sincerely, and keep learning and growing,” Taylor said. Be mindful of questioning something considered prejudiced or racist. Doing so does not promote discussion, but instead undermines historic personal pain.
78. Avoid commenting on character traits
“I can’t change my eyes or my hair or my skin color, or to some extent my weight or my height, so things that are physical traits or character traits, we shouldn’t be commenting on. We can talk about behavior,” Boyd says. For example, we no longer say, “She’s just blond. Or, she’s having a blond moment,” Boyd explains.
79. Don’t perform antiracism
“For my white friends and colleagues, in particular, I think it is really important for us to be sure we are not performing antiracism,” Taylor explained. “Antiracism and allyship are not badges or identities, or about woke-looking T-shirts or passionate posts on social media. Rather, antiracism is a series of intentional and ongoing actions.”
Support Black-owned businesses
80. Actively seek out Black businesses to support
The first way to support Black-owned businesses is to actively work on finding them and frequenting them. The Official Black Wallstreet app helps businesses gain exposure and gives people an easy way to search for companies.
81. Support Black restaurants in your area
If you’re eating out and want your dollars to go toward Black-owned eateries, there are tasty options to try. Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn’s BK9 and Minneapolis’ Angelea’s Soul Food Kitchen are just some of the offerings available – research your city’s restaurants and who owns them. The EatOkra app allows you to search for Black-owned restaurants in your area.
82. Support beauty brands by Black creators
Looking for beauty brands as well? Dehiya Beauty, The Honey Pot Co. and Beneath Your Mask are all options from Black founders that can be found in stores or online.
83. Support fitness brands by Black creators
A few examples include AARMY, Alicia Archer, Ingrid Clay and Speir Pilates.
84. Support Black-led food brands
Berhan Grains, Blk and Bold, Brooklyn Tea and Partake Foods are just a few you can check out.
85. Buy fashion from Black designers
Founder Anifa Mvuemba brings bright colors and innovative branding to fashion line Hanifa; Grace Wales Bonner’s eponymous label offers tailored silhouettes; and mother-daughter design duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka at House of Aama share an “ode to Southern Creole spiritually and African roots” with their clothing.
86. Join the “15 Percent Pledge”
Want to see more Black-owned brands in stores? The “15 Percent Pledge” petition challenges “major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.” Brother Vellies designer Aurora James launched the campaign and is calling on stores including Whole Foods, Target and Barnes & Noble to take the challenge.
87. Support digital and tech companies operated by Black leadership
Baltimore-based RightDirection Technology Solutions, Mobile Defenders in Kentwood, Michigan, and Blacc Spot Media are all examples of Black-led tech companies.
88. Support home brands with Black leadership
Godly Gorgeous, Herpothecary, Pur Home and Rochelle Porter are just a few.
Follow and help amplify nuanced voices on social media
89. Follow people promoting helpful information and resources
Academic and writer Rachel Cargle has shared letter templates for holding your employer accountable for racial justice and resource roundups on social media. Black Lives Matter founders Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Khan-Cullors provide thoughtful commentary and often share news and helpful resources, as do activist and author Brittany Packnett Cunningham, The Black List founder Franklin Leonard and director/producer Matthew A. Cherry. Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner has been a mainstay as a vocal proponent of telling stories with Black people, people of color and people from marginalized communities at the center and sharing her experiences on social media.
90. Follow allies using their platform
Celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen, George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres, have been using their platforms to reflect on racism and highlight organizations that accept donations. White influencers such as Kate Austin have also been amplifying Black voices, making donations and urging their followers to do the same. Illustrator Jane Mount has shared book recommendations to learn more about antiracism with her social media followers. GQ columnist and former Out magazine editor in chief Phillip Picardi often shares intersectional content with his followers that looks at LGBTQ+ communities. Celebrity chef Jose Andres has continuously provided food and resources to assist those facing food insecurities in times of crisis.
91. Organizations to follow
The Audre Lorde Project is a “community organizing center for LGBTSTGNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, transgender, and gender-nonconforming) people of color communities.” Showing Up for Racial Justice is a “national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice.” RAICES is the “largest immigration legal services nonprofit in Texas, focusing on under-served immigrant children, families & refugees.” SisterSong describes itself as a “National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.”
92. Wellness spaces promoting mental health
The American Psychological Association has created a list of psychologists available to discuss issues surrounding violent events targeting African Americans. They also have articles on understanding racism and the stress of invisibility on the African American community. Black Mental Wellness provides access to “evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective.”
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s “Therapy for Black Girls” podcast and Instagram account provide mental health resources for Black women and a community space to help heal. Sista Afya is a community-driven organization based in Chicago that offers Black women low-cost therapy sessions and other mental health support including group therapy, workshops and discussions.
Other ways to help
93. Vote! Boyd says political action is another vital part in taking action. “Going to the polls,” he explained. “White America just by the numbers has a lot more voting power and a lot more political power than Black America does, so to have white America agree to levels of accountability for politicians” is important.
94. Be aware of overt versus covert racism
Boyd explains that overt is direct, “over-the-top, in your face” racism, whereas covert or “hidden” racism looks like microaggressions. For example, “Wow, you’re amazingly articulate for a Black guy.”
“The covert racism I think could be more problematic. When people are overtly racist, we see them. I see the guy wearing the KKK outfit,” Boyd explains. “The covert racism often masks itself as, ‘We’re friends but when you’re not here …’ (so it’s) a false sense of security.”
Taylor added, “As white people, we don’t have to have active feelings of hate in our hearts in order to be engaging in racist behavior. Even when we have good intentions, we can still cause racial harm. In other words, we don’t have to be ‘bad people’ to be engaging in racism.”
95. Educate yourself by reading
Reading novels by Black authors can help educate people on Black history and experiences. There are also books that specifically lift up Black female voices as well as help children understand race. To see a full list of book suggestions, click here.
96. Educate yourself with podcasts
Support Black-run podcasts such as “Earn Your Leisure” and “ForAllNerds.” There are also podcasts that specifically focus on race, including “About Race,” “Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast” and “Intersectionality Matters!”
97. Educate yourself with movies and TV
A few examples are Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th,” George Tillman Jr.’s “The Hate U Give,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “Moonlight” and Denzel Washington’s “Fences.”
DuVernay’s Netflix limited series “When They See Us” is required viewing for the intersection of race, incarceration and justice in the United States. “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu and “Watchmen” on HBO both weave race and generational inherited trauma into their tales of justice. For lighter fare, Issa Rae’s HBO comedy “Insecure” shares a slice-of-life look at a group of Black women in Los Angeles and their triumphs and struggles. The 1997 miniseries “Roots” is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”
98. Learn from people via Zoom events
Angel Kyodo Williams and others have promoted virtual classes and discussions surrounding a variety of topics. Some are free, others require donations.
99. Be mindful of images you’re sharing online
“There is vicarious trauma in the Black community,” Boyd said. “And it’s not my family, it’s not my person that’s being killed, but over and over again when people of color turn on the TV or open up social media … and they see Black pain, that hurts a little bit more.”
He continued, “So in order for us to let people get over this trauma, we need to stop sharing it as much as we do. I’m not talking censoring, people have a right to see, but the people who share it because of its shock value.”
100. Be mindful of sharing images of protesters
Posting photos from protests on social media could expose protesters’ identities.
Contributing: Lokela Blanc, Ryan W. Miller, Jordan Culver and Felecia Wellington Radel, USA TODAY
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd death: Here’s how you can donate, petition, demand action