In the weeks since the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, nationwide protests have erupted in response to the killing of Black people at the hands of police. And while you may want to support the protesters' cause, there are many reasons why you may not be able to physically show up — including if you are immunocompromised, a caregiver, need childcare, have citizenship issues, or aren't close to any demonstrations.
However, that doesn't mean you can't still support the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for police reform, social justice and racial equity. As such, we've compiled five ways to aid protest efforts from home. So whether you choose to donate your time or money, check out a few of the ways you can help, below.
One of the best ways to take action is to donate. A popular option has been donating to bail funds — which post bail for those put in jail on pretrial detention — as they work to free those who have been arrested or detained. For a list of bail funds around the country, we'd advise looking toward The Community Justice Exchange's by-state Directory of Community Bail Funds or ActBlue's platform, which allows you to split donations between bails funds in cities across the nation.
That said, many bail funds have been overwhelmed with support and are now asking for people to donate to community organizations dedicated to eradicating white supremacy, fighting for racial equity, and/or other related work. That said, many organizations have also met their fundraising goals and are no longer accepting donations, so just make sure to double check which organizations still need help. As of writing, we'd recommend places like the Innocence Project and the Know Your Rights Camp.
Additionally, there have also been calls online to give money to mutual aid funds that are doing things like directly helping certain communities (i.e. the Black Trans Travel Fund) or COVID-19 relief efforts (like COVID Bailout NYC) — something that's especially important given the way the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. Regardless of where you decide to donate though, do your research beforehand and double check whether or not the organization actually needs help or if another organization could benefit more.
It's great that y'all are contributing to bail funds, but many of them have more money than they can use rn (thanks to your help) so I encourage you to ALSO donate to mutual aid funds! They help the ppl we're fighting for directly & are esp necessary during the pandemic. THREAD:— lyd (@thegirlwithfood) June 1, 2020
Not only that, but as noted by several other publications, watching monetized YouTube videos by creators who have pledged 100% of the ad revenue to Black Lives Matter-related organizations is a good way to help. Just make sure not to skip ads and ensure that your ad blocker is off.
Volunteer to Provide Supplies and Resources for Protesters
Money isn't the only way to donate, though. If there are any local organizations looking for help, you can lend your skills and donate your time by volunteering to do anything from sewing masks for protesters to designing graphics and signs. Another increasingly popular way to support protesters has been assembling supply kits filled with things like masks, hand sanitizer and water for those spending hours on the ground. Reach out to nearby protest organizers — starting with places like your local Black Lives Matter chapter — and see what you can provide and/or help hand out ahead of time.
On a more personal level, if someone you know is trying to attend a protest, you can help by doing things like providing childcare or volunteer to be someone's emergency contact. And if adhering to strict social distancing protocol is less of a worry for you, volunteering to drive and/or pick up protesters from meet-up locations if you have a car is always welcome.
Sign Petitions and Contact Your Elected Officials
Signing online petitions is always a good place to start. From those asking for the end of militarization in communities of color to seeking Justice For Tony McDade — a Black trans man who was murdered by the Tallahassee Police — there's plenty of petitions available online. One of the most visible ones though is Black Lives Matter's #DefundThePolice initiative, which is a push to curb spending on police and prisons and reallocate that money toward vital social services for communities of color.
Read up on localized information about defunding the police and pushing for spending reform in your city through organizations like NYC's Change The NYPD and LA's People Budget LA — both of which provide instructions on how to help, as well as the numbers and emails of your elected representatives who vote on city budget restructuring. Additionally, here is a very helpful template for what to say when contacting your representatives.
Educate Yourself and Learn About the Issues
It's not your Black friends' job to explain racism and its effects to you, and you have no excuse to put the onus on them when there are plenty of valuable resources at your disposal. One option is to start with foundational works like James Baldwin's Civil Rights Era essential The Fire Next Time and Angela Davis's Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, which you have likely seen circulating via social media as of late. Even better, try and buy these books from a Black-owned bookstore, if you can.
In terms of online resources, we're also big fans of this Google Doc compiled by Instagram meme account Patia's Fantasy World, which contains material on how to dismantle systemic racism, as well as literature on privilege, Black history, policing and surveillance. And as activists and organizers continue to call for police abolition, reading up on the topic is key. As such, Verso Books is giving away free ebook downloads of Alex S. Vitale's The End of Policing, or you can opt to start with something else from The Abusable Past's essential reading list, "Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness."
Amplify Protests and Key Information via Social Media
Lastly, it's important to remember to amplify and spread key information pertaining to protests, defunding initiatives, donation funds and more via your own platforms. Twitter, in particular, has become an essential hub of information from Black-led accounts for those wanting to keep up to date on ways to help and get involved. Though, as always, be wary of misinformation and try to use your online presence to spread information and resources, rather than performative displays of allyship.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with new information.
Welcome to "Internet Explorer," a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter's finest roasts, "Internet Explorer" is here to keep you up-to-date with the web's current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.
Photo via Getty/ Loic Venance
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