Editor’s Note: In light of recent events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we at SEEN want to make it clear that we stand against hate, and in solidarity with black communities here in Detroit and across the country. We believe in the ideals of equality and justice and, as a media company, pledge to do our part to champion diversity and inclusion.
By Katrianna Ray
When it comes to helping dismantle systemic racism and inequality, many people are, understandably, not sure where to start. Taking to the streets may be the most visible way to make your voice heard, but it’s not the only way to fight for change. Here are 6 other actions you can take to help make a difference.
1. Educate yourself
As an individual, you may feel you have little control over outside events. One thing you can do: Arm yourself with information. Read up on how to be an ally — that is, someone who supports the struggle for equality. (Check out this anti-racist reading list compiled by author Ibram X. Kendi.) Then reach out to your non-white friends and let them know that you see and hear them.
Also: Stay informed and keep up with the latest developments of the protests.
2. Pick up the phone
When it comes to ushering in change, ringing up your local police department and elected officials is a good place to start. Reach out to your local PD and find out what measures they’re taking to minimize the use of force in a given situation: What type of de-escalation training are officers being provided? Are they outfitted with body cameras, which may increase accountability during a standoff?
Also, call your local representative to demand accountability and justice for George Floyd. Another option: Making your voice heard by attending a city council meeting, even if it’s only via Zoom.
3. Give to charity
There are many organizations accepting donations on behalf of George Floyd and in service of a more equitable future. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you’re looking to donate, check out the following national and local options:
George Floyd Memorial Fund This is the official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family. All proceeds go to cover funeral and burial expenses, counseling to the family, fees for all court proceedings and to help the family while they continue to seek justice for their loved one.
Reclaim the Block This Minneapolis-based organization advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in the city. They are calling on Minneapolis to invest in programs related to violence prevention, housing, emergency mental-health response teams and solutions to the opioid crisis.
New Detroit Closer to home, New Detroit is a group of leaders dedicated to achieving “racial understanding and racial equity” in Metro Detroit, according to the organization’s website. They do this via programs like a multicultural leadership series and equity training for companies.
4. Help with bail
Community bail funds pay bails and bonds for community members within the criminal, legal and immigration-detention systems. Donating to these causes supports the bail funds and, in turn, protestors. Check out the Community Justice Exchange for a list of community bail funds (separated by state), or the Detroit Bail Fund, which assists local individuals in their release from jail.
5. Support black-owned businesses
From ordering takeout to shopping for a new pair of sneakers, there are lots of ways to support local black business owners. Visit Detroit created a list of black-owned businesses in the Detroit area (it’s from March, so may not take into account current COVID-19 restrictions or closures due to protests). To support black-owned businesses on a larger scale, visit WeBuyBlack, an online marketplace that showcases black-owned businesses nationwide.
6. Show solidarity with protestors
If you’re wary of being on the frontlines but still want to show your support in person, there are many ways to help. Some ideas:
- Buy supplies Collect food, water and medical supplies for demonstrators and pass them out during the protests. If you can make a sandwich and apply a band-aid, you can help support the movement.
- Aid in cleanup efforts Pick up garbage, collect and dispose of bottles and other debris, etc.
- Don’t lose sight of the positive Yes, the state of the world is horrific and heartbreaking, and this tip may feel out of place here. But it’s worth noting that beautiful moments have also played out amid all this divisiveness, with police officers and protestors coming together, however briefly. For example: the Genesee County sheriff who marched with demonstrators; a protestor hugging a Louisville police officer dressed in swat gear’ and police officers across the country kneeling in solidarity. These moments may be few and far between, but if you capture one, please post it. Seeing images like these help us remember our shared humanity, and in these dark times, that’s no small thing.
For more resources and information about racial justice, visit:
Colors of Change: https://colorofchange.org/about/
ACLU Michigan: https://www.aclumich.org/en/issues/racial-justice