How You Can Support the Black Lives Matter Movement
Everyone is welcome and there are many ways to get involved
Systemic racism and very public acts of police brutality and murder against Black Americans have ignited world-wide protests and calls for substantive change. A tipping point seems to have been reached, which in turn has drawn more people than ever in calling for reform. The Black Lives Matter movement has been the heartbeat of the crusade. Its success depends on people getting behind it and keeping the momentum going. Here are some great ways to offer support and do your part for this very important cause.
Of course, a great way to get directly involved is by attending one of the many protests that have been occurring around the country and the world. Although some of them have been impromptu, many more are organized. You will likely learn of upcoming events in your area through the news and word of mouth, but there are also good tips on how to locate one near you according to CNET.com.
Before attending a protest, it’s extremely important to know not only your rights, but also your limits. Be familiar with what you can and should do and also what you should make sure to avoid.
Donate to Charities
There are tons of outstanding charities to consider making a donation to that support and advance anti-racism. There are those that are geared towards families; community-based organizations; while Guidestar.com lists more than 2,500 varied groups that serve and support Black populations.
If you have a few spare dollars, putting that cash to work can really go a long way. In particular, non-profits rely on patronage. Don’t just give money; mention it on social media and give some free advertising to the cause(s) of your choice. Taking that extra step can really keep the ball rolling and help inspire your friends and family to follow your lead.
Buy from Black-Owned Businesses
Another effective act of support is showing up for black-owned businesses. This can be done by finding local options to plug into your shopping rotation, but there is also a veritable cornucopia of online options as well.
Resources have been compiled listing bookstores, artists, and bakers among others. There are also comprehensive directories that break down additional categories across the country. With the economy currently being rocked by COVID-19, shopping with these businesses couldn’t come at a better time. Once again, sharing your products and shopping experience, or leaving online reviews are a nice way to supplement whatever money you may spend.
Help Register Voters and Volunteer for Political Campaigns
A key component of helping enact change is making sure that there are politicians and other elected officials in place who can orchestrate the will of the people. Naturally, you want to vote in every election and make sure your voice is counted. However, you can also magnify your impact by getting further involved and helping register voters and volunteer for candidate campaigns.
Head Count makes it easy for anyone to start their own voter registration drive. It’s a compelling opportunity to involve younger folks, including those not old enough yet to vote, and give them an up-close experience about their important civic duty and privilege they have when they get older.
It may sound simple but the more people are educated on the issues and challenges at hand, the better. The ways to do this are practically endless. If movies are your jam, Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu have all assembles libraries of films celebrating Black Lives Matter and the Black experience — some of which have currently been made free. Ranging from documentaries to theatrical releases, there is a ton of material. Be forewarned that many of these can be difficult to watch but if anything, that makes them all the more necessary to be seen.
Readers don’t despair, you haven’t been left out. Harper’s Bazaar compiled an essential #BlackLivesMatter reading list, which lists their picks for the top books to read on the matter. There are plenty of other lists to consider, but theirs is a great starting point.
In the media, you can’t go wrong checking out the online publication, The Root. Meanwhile, journalist Shaun King has rapidly become the person with his finger on the pulse of the movement. He and his work are readily available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He does not typically cover feel-good stories, but rather the darkest and most depraved of the happenings that continues to plague the Black community. He does not sugarcoat anything, which is a refreshing change from how the rest of the media can cover such volatile stories.
Listen and Engage
These are perhaps the most important contributions one can make. The Black Lives Matter movement is dependent upon people talking about the issues and no longer simply letting them vaporize into the ether like has happened so often in the past. It’s even more important to listen and absorb what’s going on — keeping in mind that you likely don’t have all or even some of the answers and remembering that’s okay.