Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken time (both individually and collectively) to listen, learn, and reflect on what’s happening in our community and across the country.
The activism and widespread outcry sparked by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others have served as a wakeup call for everyone that this country is in desperate need of change. The truth is, we hardly know where to start—but we need to start somewhere.
While there are a lot of heavy emotions weighing on all of us at the moment, the most pressing feeling is determination: to educate ourselves, to use our voices, to amplify the voices of others, and to effect change. That all starts with reevaluating our perspective and the role we each play in creating the world we want to live in.
Here are five concrete ways you can get educated and involved in the Black Lives Matter movement right now.
Actively researching books and literature that offer a new perspective is the first step in identifying and better understanding the issue of systemic, institutionalized racism. The following is a list of enlightening books that will open your eyes and your mind.
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibran X. Kendi
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The Third Option by Miles McPherson
They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In the age of streaming services, there are plenty of ways to view these important shows, movies, and series. This list covers everything from the history of racial inequality in this country to mass incarceration and honest conversations on the Black experience in America.
When They See Us (Netflix)
Dear White People (Netflix)
If Beale St Could Talk (Hulu)
The Hate You Give (Cinemax)
Part of getting educated involves seeking out different perspectives and voices that wouldn’t normally occupy space on your feed. Our social media accounts can often become echo chambers, reflecting our own beliefs and opinions back to us and reaffirming our preexisting biases. It’s up to each of us to diversify our channels to include Black voices, perspectives from people of color, and platforms that encourage difficult conversations.
There are numerous organizations that rely on donations to help pass legislation, provide funding for underrepresented groups, and support the systemic changes we need to root out racial inequality. If you’d like to give financially, here are a few places where you can contribute.
Campaign Zero: A platform dedicated to police reform and using effective policy change to reduce violence. (Psst, their new #8CantWait campaign could reduce police violence by up to 75%.)
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: Nonprofit legal organization fighting for racial justice in America through litigation, public education, and advocacy.
The Bail Project:National Revolving Bail Fund that combats mass incarceration disproportionately affecting low-income people and minorities. They strive to eliminate the economic and racial disparity that our bail system perpetuates.
The Loveland Foundation: A foundation focused on mental health support and resources for communities of color, particularly Black women and girls. A donation to this org could help fund therapy sessions and increase access to treatment for members of diverse ethnic and racial groups.
The ability to elect leaders who reflect the changes we want to see in our country is our fundamental right, and we all need to exercise it now more than ever. Do your research, look up local elections, and get prepared for the upcoming election in November. Whatever you do, don’t be silent. Your vote is capable of creating real change when you use it to elect candidates who support important legislature and reform policies. We’ve even rounded up some helpful voting resources for you to check out. So, go vote!
Vote411: If you need to register to vote, check your voter registration status, or find out what will be on your ballot, Vote411.org is your new best friend. You can read up on each candidate in any upcoming election, so you can make an informed decision.
@iamavoter: This useful Instagram account is a nonpartisan resource with the goal of encouraging a cultural shift toward voting and civic engagement. Follow them for voting statistics, upcoming elections, and all-around inspo to exercise your vote. And if you need to check your registration status, just text VOTER to 26797.