You posted a black square on your Instagram, but police brutality is still a thing! What now?
If this is your first time working through antiracism, this could be a hard moment to navigate. It’s been a month since George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter hit the mainstream, and things seem to be slowing down. People who had been posting in solidarity are now back to beach pics. Cities with mayor-commissioned BLM murals see no real change aside from street paint.
If you feel like taking a step back to enjoy your summer, please remember that black people don’t have this luxury. The last couple of weeks we’ve seen so many people step out of their comfort zones and get things done, but there is still so much more we need to do.
This past RTW newsletter we focused on amplifying black voices and sharing anti-racism resources. I’ve added to it and posted it here as a guide for those who want to keep the momentum going in a sustainable and un-performative way.
Read and Educate
- What does seeing black men die do for you? This article was written over five years ago, and it’s a powerful reminder of why we can’t afford to slow things down. The last sentence reads, “I tremble to think what act, or accompanying footage, will be required for the powers that be to finally see what is going on.”
- You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument. Read this if you think tearing statues down crosses a line. “I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South. If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.”
- American Policing Has Always Been About Enforcing White Supremacy. Wonder if people are being too mean to cops? This interview discusses the start of modern policing as a way to control the slave population in 1790, increased militarization, and why we desperately need to defund the police.
- Cops Are Always the Main Characters. “Police procedurals have become so much a part of American culture that when Donald Trump tweets ‘LAW & ORDER’ as a call for even more police control, his followers will recognize what he means, and they will also, of course, recognize the name of a TV show about cops.”
- Of Hoodies and Lost Time. Written at the start of the BLM movement. “I specifically remember one night walking [my dog] with the UO hoodie on. It was raining… I realized — suddenly — that I was a black man wearing a hoodie at night, while walking a pit bull… It was the week that the Trayvon case was finally starting to get major national press. I pulled down the hood. And got soaked.”
- White Americans, your lack of imagination is killing us. The director of Harriet and Eve’s Bayou writes this opinion piece for the Washington Post, “Rage can be useful, necessary even. It fuels our pride and lubricates our resilience. With discipline and unity, rage can change the world. So be enraged with us and for us. If you’re unwilling to do that, know this: You can look away all you want. But we see you.”
BOOKS AND GUIDES
- “If you’re a white woman who is watching the world burn because of police murder against Black people, and you don’t know what to do,” this white woman’s guide to anti-racism is a good place to start. Send it to all of your friends. Pick a recommended book and start a book club. Bring it up during your brunches and ask yourselves the questions.
- This Anti-Racism for white people Google Doc is also a great resource with good tips for parents. “If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now.”
- This Critical Race Theory resource drive is filled with PDFs, lessons, and essays on Black, Indigenous, Latin American, and Asian and Middle Eastern studies. It’s like a free college level course on race.
- If you want more books to read, this Black Liberation Reading List has a great selection as well as options for children and young adults. And if you’re not a big reader/ don’t have the time to commit to The New Jim Crow, AntiRacist Baby apparently has “nine easy steps for building a more equitable world,” so there’s no excuse!
- Some of our favorites: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma OluoIn, Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
*If you’re going to buy a book, let’s avoid Amazon. Research to find local book shops you can support instead. Here is a list of black owned book stores to start you off.
FREE ONLINE COURSES
- Yale open course on African American History: From Emancipation to the Present
- UCLA Course on African American Studies. “Elements of the class include debates and conflicts in black political thought, historical contest of African American social movements, and discussions of the relationship between black political thought and major trends in Western thought.”
Support Black Businesses
Your faves are problematic. The multimillion/billion dollar companies we give our money to (hi Target) have benefited from white supremacy, police brutality, and mass incarceration for years. And don’t forget about our yoga studios, beauty lines, and health brands that actively exclude black women and reinforce racist micro-aggressions into our day-to-day. Be a better ally. Closely examine the businesses you support, and maybe try going for a black-owned business instead.
- This is a list of literally over 150 Black-owned wellness businesses. Just ctrl+f to find anything your heart desires.
- BLK+GRN is an “all natural marketplace by all black artisans.” Make this your go-to for pure essential oils, chakra soy candles, and menstrual care.
- 25 Black-owned beauty brands you can shop with to support inclusivity!
- I already shared this above, but I’ll put it here too in case you’re still tempted to give Jeff Bezos more of your money. This list has over a hundred black-owned bookstores across the country that you can support. Ctrl+f to find your city/state.
- Black owned yoga studios with livestreams you can support. As studios start opening up, consider switching to one of these in your area.
- For our Atlanta people: Buy Black Atlanta.
- And here’s a more general list of 39 black businesses in America you can support.
- The Buy from a Black Woman online directory helps you find over 300 businesses owned and operated by black women.
- And if you would like to support the mission
- We Buy Black is the largest online market place for black-owned businesses. It’s like Amazon, but actually nice.
Call. Write. Sign. Donate.
Racial bias training is not going to erase the years of white supremacy integrated and reinforced into American police forces. We need real change. It’s time to defund the police and hold them accountable. Call and email your officials, representatives, and senators. Then, if you can, donate. These are some causes that will need your support:
JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR
- Sign this petition
- And this petition
- Donate to the Justice for Breonna Taylor Go Fund me
- Donate to the #LouisvilleBailFund to get Breonna’s protestors released
- Check out JusticeforBreonna.org for city government emails and phone numbers. If you’re worried about what to say, they provide a template of how to make demands on behalf of Breonna and her family (try to not copy the template word for word as large amounts of identical emails could be filtered out).
JUSTICE FOR ELIJAH McCAIN
- Sign this petition
- And this one
- Donate to the fundraiser set up by Elijah’s mother
- And to the Colorado Freedom Fund
- This is who to call and what to say
- This Justice for Elijah site has a link that will automatically set up a ready-to-send email. Just remember to modify it!
DEFUND THE POLICE PETITIONS
Use the Black Lives Matter website as a resource for more ways to help and to stay on top of who has been charged and who needs more nudging. They have email templates to help you contact your representatives, ask how police are being trained in your city, and demand reform.
- National Bail Fund Network: Directory of Community Bail Funds
- National: Act Blue Bail Funds for Protestors
- National: The Bail Project
- Atlanta: Atlanta Solidarity Fund
- Los Angeles: BLM LA Action Bail Fund
- Louisville: Louisville Community Bail Fund
- Minneapolis: Minnesota Freedom Fund
- New York: Free Them All For Public Health
- New York: Trans Emergency Release Fund
- New York: Bail Out NY
- For more cities check this list here
MORE PLACES TO DONATE
- Black Voters Matter Fund
- National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Girls
- Real Justice PAC
- Rayshard Brooks Memorial Fund
- Black Girls Code
- Community Justice Action Fund
- Fair Fight
- Equal Justice Initiative
MORE PETITIONS TO SIGN
- Justice for Vanessa Guillen
- Petition to protect black voters
- Petition for the “Hands Up Act”
- Justice for George Floyd
- Cut ties with the FOP
- National action against police brutality
I definitely missed some things. Check out this Google Doc for links to hundreds of petitions, where to donate, and how to protest.
Listen. Watch. Share.
- The Nod
- Austin Channing Brown on Unlocking Us
- About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge, the author of Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
- Behind the Bastards: The Man who Teaches our Cops to Kill
- Citations Needed: Liberal Gandhi Fetishism and the Problem with Pop Notions of ‘Violence’
- Full disclosure, this is a Bachelor podcast. But I promise it is such compelling listen as the only black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsey, discusses the overt racism in the nations most popular Reality TV show. And if you love listening to her, this is her new podcast.
Have a movie night with your white friends/family and pick one of these films to watch:
- The 13th (Netflix): This “examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.”
- I Am Not Your Negro (Prime): “Director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished – a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.”
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu): A black couple’s future is derailed when one of them is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
- The Black Power Mixed Tape (Prime): “Featuring candid interviews with the movement’s most explosive revolutionary minds, including Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Stokely Carmichael, and Kathleen Cleaver, the film explores the community, people and radical ideas of the movement.”
- Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (YouTube): This series “follows comedian and writer Wyatt Cenac as he explores America’s most pressing issues. Traveling to different parts of the country, Cenac brings unique perspectives to systemic issues, while tackling more benign everyday inconveniences with comedic solutions.”
- Whose Streets? (Hulu): “An account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. The filmmakers look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back and sparked a global movement.”
- You can watch more powerful films focused on black lives for free here.
- For your Christian parents who let VeggieTales raise you: Holy Post – Race in America
- This TikTok QUEEN debunks all of the terrible Facebook arguments, and other entertain/educational posts.
- Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives
- An Introduction into police brutality. A collection of videos to answer the question, why is this happening? They dive into the legacy of lynching, the militarization of police departments, the bond between police and prosecutors, and more.
- PBS does The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
- This video, Black Lives and Voices Matter: an art exposition, was originally a fundraiser and a great way to donate without money before YouTube shut it down. The video is still up without ads, and is honestly incredibly moving to watch regardless.
The words “I can’t breathe” have once again rallied the BLM movement, spoken by another dying man in a nightmarish repeat. This time it isn’t being ignored. George Floyd’s death has become a catalytic moment. Don’t let it pass you by. Join the movement. Commit to standing for justice, not just this once, but continually.
“THE MASTER’S TOOLS WILL NEVER DISMANTLE THE MASTER’S HOUSE. THEY MAY ALLOW US TO TEMPORARILY BEAT HIM AT HIS OWN GAME, BUT THEY WILL NEVER ENABLE US TO BRING ABOUT GENUINE CHANGE.” – AUDRE LORDE
Written by Victoria Marie Ward
Photography by Crystal Anne Photography