The killing of George Floyd has sparked protests that have spread throughout the globe. Thousands of people have gathered together to demand police reform, including mandatory body cameras, bias training and defunding police departments.
While the turnout for these gatherings has been monumental, not everyone is able to take to the streets. If you want to support the Black Lives Matter movement but cannot march or donate, here is a list of alternative ways you can support the cause.
1. Educate Yourself
One of the best things you can do is take the time to educate yourself. It is not enough to just not be racist — we must be anti-racist. For non-black people, it may be uncomfortable to engage in tough conversations with yourself and family members. However, this is a necessary step to achieve change.
There are many educational resources online about anti-racism. In the age of mutual aid projects, activists, scholars and everyday people have compiled extensive lists of articles, podcasts and other anti-racist media. For example, this Google Doc features not only anti-racism information and articles, but also specific materials for educating white parents and children. Some examples of resources are Ava DuVernay’s film “13th,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s nonfiction work “Between the World and Me” and Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye.”
2. Share information
If you do not have the means to donate, you can still share donation links on social media and with friends and family. While the death of George Floyd sparked the current wave of protests, his killing is not an isolated event. Just two months earlier, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was also the victim of a deadly police shooting. Both Floyd’s and Taylor’s families have started GoFundMe pages in their honor. Sharing these links along with the multitude of other petitions, funds and information across social media will help grow the movement.
3. Participate in YouTube Fundraisers
Another way you can financially contribute without donating yourself is by participating in YouTube fundraising videos. Another example of this is Revive Music’s Black Lives Matter 24/7 hip-hop radio stream. The channel has a second fundraiser stream for Pride Month.
YouTuber Zoe Amira posted a fundraiser video recently, promising to donate all of the ad revenue to organizations like Black Lives Matter and the Black Votes Matter Fund. Other YouTubers have followed her lead and made similar videos of their own. This type of content showcases black creatives, musicians and influencers, as well as lists resources on how non-black people can be better allies.
4. Support Protesters
With so many people on the ground marching, there is a lot of support needed for these protests. If you want to support protestors, bail funds are a good place to start. Bail funds are used by organizers to free protesters held in jail. If you want to support a local bail fund, the National Bail Fund Network lists the bail funds for each state. You could ask someone to make a donation on your behalf or spread the links for these organizations so they can continue doing the work that needs to be done.
Volunteering your time to create masks or donate first-aid gear to protestors is another way to support protests. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention put up a tutorial on their website on how to make a homemade mask. Some of the protests are becoming violent, which caused protestors to be in need of emergency care. If you happen to be living near a protest site, you could offer to shelter some protestors. Stock up on essential items like water, first aid supplies, masks, gloves and food. Create a space for the protestors to regroup. If opening up your home is not an option, try putting together care packages to hand out to protestors on the streets.
5. Support Black-Owned Businesses
An estimated 90% of businesses owned by minorities were shut out of the Federal Paycheck Program that was created to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many are still struggling as states begin to reopen. However, by frequenting these businesses and sharing their pages on social media, you could make a difference. Chowhound has compiled a list of black-owned restaurants and bars on their website to support. If you enjoy literature, here is a list of black-owned bookstores to visit. On social media, you could also support these businesses through following, liking and sharing their pages.
What better way to initiate change than to vote? If you believe that our elected leaders are unjust, vote for the candidate you believe isn’t. Educate yourself on who is representing your state and city, not just who is in the White House. Know what your representatives stand for and what their voting records are. Vote for people who will implement the reform that needs to happen. Continue educating yourself and listen to black voices. If you are not already registered to vote, you can do so here.
Right now, the movement has momentum, but this cannot just be a singular moment or trend. Change can happen — it is not quick, easy or simple — but it’s possible. You do not have to be on the streets protesting or donating; you can help implement the changes you wish to see right from your own home.