BLACK LIVES MATTER: HOW TO HELP.

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In this moment—as in every moment where there is an opportunity to move toward justice—there are only two choices:

  1. Justice.
  2. Injustice.

That’s it. End of the story, bottom line, period. There is no third middle-ground option because, as Desmond Tutu so eloquently says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This post is one of the ways I’m trying to choose justice.

Below is a list of resources, mostly meant for white people, to learn about racism and get involved in racial justice efforts. There are opportunities to read (both books and shorter writings), watch (both films/TV shows and shorter videos), listen, sign petitions, donate, and more. Resources with an asterisk* are ones I’ve personally read, watched, or engaged with; resources without an asterisk* are ones that have come highly recommended and that I plan to read, watch, or engage with in the near future.

If you have questions about these resources or want to talk more about racism and racial justice, you can comment on this post or contact me directly. This list is definitely not exhaustive; it comes from my limited perspective and thus contains limited resources. I encourage you to engage with other resources and participate in other conversations, especially those shared by people of color. As for this particular post, you’re more than welcome to share it if you think someone you know would find it helpful.

READ: BOOKS.

  • *The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Starr, a 16-year-old black teen, witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer. If she speaks up for justice, she risks upending her life and endangering her community. This book was also made into a movie directed by George Tillman, Jr., and starring Amandla Stenberg.
  • Just Mercy by Bryan StevensonStevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, shares the true story of his defense of Walter McMillian and calls us all to pursue true justice. The book was adapted into a movie directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson. In response to current conversations about racial injustice, Warner Bros. has made the movie available to rent for free on digital platforms in the U.S.
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngeloWhen white people’s assumptions about race are challenged, their reactions are often counterproductive and perpetuate racial inequality.
  • Any book from this list of Books White People Need to Read.

READ: ARTICLES & OTHER WRITINGS.

  • *Letter from a Birmingham jail: This famous writing by Martin Luther King, Jr., responds to clergy who criticized his tactics of direct action in the civil rights movement. It explores many important ideas related to racial justice and remains incredibly relevant today.
  • *Things to stop being distracted by when a black person gets murdered by police: This article by Mia McKenzie reminds us to focus on the actual issue of police murdering black people. It was written in 2014.
  • *White privilege: This article by Peggy McIntosh lists 50 examples of white privilege and explains why it’s important to recognize it.

WATCH: MOVIES & TV SHOWS.

  • *When They See Us: Directed by Ava DuVernay, this Netflix miniseries shares the story of the Central Park Five. These five teenagers of color were convicted of a rape that they did not commit. The series follows them over a 25-year span, including their imprisonment and exoneration.
  • *Slavery by Another NameThis PBS documentary explores how, following the abolishment of slavery in the U.S., the criminal justice system was used to keep black people enslaved and profit off their exploited labor.
  • 13th: Also directed by Ava DuVernay, this award-winning documentary examines the U.S. prison system and how the country’s history of inequality drives mass incarceration. The entire film is available for free on YouTube.
  • Teach Us All: This documentary explores past and present racial inequality in the education system. It’s available on Netflix.

WATCH: TED TALKS & SHORTER VIDEOS.

  • *We need to talk about an injustice: In this TED talk, Bryan Stevenson, the author of Just Mercy (discussed above) and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, discusses racial inequality in the U.S. criminal justice system.
  • *Color blind or color brave?: This TED talk by Mellody Hobson encourages us to talk about race, even and especially when it’s uncomfortable.
  • *After the tears have dried up: Terrence Smith, student pastor at Buckhead Church and personal friend, shares some of his thoughts, feelings, and examples of ways to help.
  • *Buckhead Church conversation: Terrence and Clay Scroggins, lead pastor at Buckhead Church, discuss how the big-C Church can move toward racial justice. They share a four-part framework—learn, listen, lament, leverage—that I found super helpful.
  • *What is intersectionality?: In this brief video, Kimberlé Crenshaw explains the concept of intersectionality and applies it to educational settings. She also has a TED talk on intersectionality.

LISTEN.

  • *Is all history white history?: This podcast episode from The Liturgists discusses how racism affects our perception of history and how we can use empathy to better understand different perspectives.
  • How to be an anti-racist: In this podcast episode, Brené Brown and Ibram X. Kendi explore how to uproot racism in society and in ourselves.

SIGN.

  • *This list includes petitions for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many more.
  • *For my fellow Auburn fans, this is a petition for Auburn University to rename Wallace Hall. George Wallace is a former governor of Alabama who promoted segregation and vehemently opposed school integration.

DONATE.

  • This website is dividing donations between 70+ bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizations. You can choose to have your donation divided equally, or allocate different amounts to different groups.
  • The Loveland Foundation brings opportunities and healing to communities of color. Their therapy fund provides free therapy sessions for black women and girls.
  • *If you’re strapped for cash, you can watch YouTube videos (list in this twitter thread) whose ad revenues will be donated to the Black Lives Matter movement. Don’t skip the ads!!!! I have them playing in the background as I write this post.

ENGAGE.

  • *Check out the Racial Dot Map, compiled by the Cooper Center with 2010 Census data. It shows geographic segregation, the separation of people of different races into different geographical areas, in the United States. This video and this video help explain geographic segregation.
  • *Visit the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL. The museum mostly focuses on racial inequality in the U.S. justice system, while the memorial is dedicated to victims of lynching. Although these sites are currently closed due to COVID-19, when they reopen, it’s definitely worth your time. The museum and memorial were created by the Equal Justice Initiative.
  • Connect with Campaign Zero and their new 8 can’t wait initiative to decrease and ultimately end police violence.
  • *If you’re a college student, take classes in African studies, sociology, social work, or other fields, related to racism and racial justice. I give credit to my social work and sociology classes for educating me about these issues and connecting me with many of the above resources.
  • *If you’re a student at Auburn, attend meetings and events with the Black Student Union. Auburn’s BSU is welcoming and open to people of all races who want to learn and engage with the black community. I grew so much and honestly had a lot of fun going to meetings this past year. If you go to another school, check with your school’s BSU to see if you can get involved.
  • Schedule a meeting with your local police or sheriff department and ask about what they’re doing to decrease police violence against people of color. How are they training their officers to de-escalate? Are they practicing community policing? Asking these kinds of questions will urge your local police to do their part to end police brutality.
  • Engage with other opportunities from this list.

TAKE CARE.

Engaging in racial justice is hard. It’s hard for allies, and it’s infinitely harder for people of color, who must advocate for their own existence. As we do this hard work, remember to take care of yourself. Light a scented candle, meditate, take a bubble bath, exercise, play video games, whatever you do for self-care. Personally, I’ve been limiting my time on social media and doing calming crafts. True activism is a sustained effort over time to be better and do better. And it’s not going to happen if you burn out in the next week. Do the work, but remember to take care of yourself, too.

Thanks for reading.

True, we are often too weak to stop injustices; but the least we can do is to protest against them. True, we are too poor to eliminate hunger; but in feeding one child, we protest against hunger. True, we are too timid and powerless to take on all the guards of all the political prisons in the world; but in offering our solidarity to one prisoner we denounce all the tormentors. True, we are powerless against death; but as long as we help one man, one woman, one child live one hour longer in safety and dignity, we affirm man’s [woman’s] right to live.

-Elie Wiesel

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