Anyone with eyes can see the necessity of this movement. Anyone with social media hears of the atrocities that are swept under the carpet. Most importantly, anyone with a phone can help. Black Lives Matter. They always have, they always will. We must act with passion and vigour to amend a system that feels content to drown out the cries of its poorly-treated members.
UK citizens are coordinating peaceful, Black Lives Matter marches across the country. From London, to Leeds, Manchester to Peckham. With COVID-19, social distancing measures in effect, some events have faced cancellation. It still remains illegal to gather in large groups.
This leaves a lingering feeling of helplessness in the air. Sure, social media posts and hashtags show solidarity and support, but what else? BlackOutTuesday is aimed at amplifying the voices of those battling for equality. But, there are conversations to be had. There are actions to be made. Here are some of the ways you can, not only help, but educate, support, and donate to the Black Lives Matter protesters.
The contents of this article are inspired by the Google Document made by @perkin_amalaraj on Twitter. It will be regularly updated with sources and means of aid. It is very informative, and you can find the document here.
Correspond with MP’s: What are their stances on the murder of George Floyd?
Email, call, look at social media: who is your local MP? Have they spoken out against police brutality? Are they expressing their outrage? If not, why not? A lack of concern from those in powerful positions already exposes a problem. MP’s discuss a variety of issues in the House of Parliament, and you are able to see how your MP votes here. A comprehensive, A-Z list of their email addresses can be found online.
While their support is great, making steps towards proactive legislation is better. Amplifying the voices of people of colour and highlighting the masked, prevalence of racism that occurs within the UK is crucial to ignite conversation. Linked below, are a list of materials worth taking note of.
Donate to Black Lives Matter causes
Did you know that, Black African households are 75 per cent more likely than white British households to suffer housing deprivation? (indicators of which include overcrowding and an absence of central heating). In 2014, the Runnymede Trust found that in the East London borough of Redbridge, black people made up 26 per cent of homeless persons, whilst making up 9 per cent of the population. This problem is not confined to the US. We must help, uplift, contribute to ease the burden of systematic racism and its dire consequences.
Organisations you can donate to
- Minnesota Healing Justice Network (They provide a supportive professional community and mutual aid network for wellness and healing justice practitioners who also identify as IBPOC (indigenous, black, or people of color).
- Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund (Du Nord Craft Spirits is a Black-owned distillery with a building that was damaged. Du Nord is establishing this fund to support black and brown companies affected by the riots.
- Support the African American Policy Forum (A social justice think-tank who are ‘dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights’)
- StopWatch’s Campaign for Fair Accountable Policing (A national research organisation formed in response to unprecedented increases in the number of stop-searches, consistently high disproportionality and government proposals increasing police powers and reducing accountability.)
- Gofundme Page for UK Legal Support for protestors (A hub of Lawyers and legal advisors providing free legal advice and representation to UK Black Lives Matter activists and protesters.)
- Black Immigrant Collective (The Black Immigrant Collective amplifies and makes visible the voices of Black immigrants in Minnesota.)
- Joyce Preschool (Emergency fund for families who had to evacuate their homes near Lake Street last week, and who are now coming back to a devastated neighborhood with no grocery stores within walking distance.)
- Gofundme Page for a retreat for black survivors of domestic abuse
(The dramatic increase in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially traumatic for survivors from the African & Caribbean heritage community. This is because the majority of mainstream services do not understand or cater for black women and girls affected by domestic or sexual abuse. This is especially true of the grassroots/Rastafarian and other communities that remain invisible in plain sight.)
- Funeral Fund for Dio Johnson (Dion Johnson was killed on Memorial Day for pulling over and sleeping in his car on the freeway. He was too tired to drive and was then shot and killed by a DPS officer.)
- Gofundme page for Belly Mujinga (A ticket collector who died of COVID-19 after being spat at by a passenger. All funds will go towards her family, and to support her daughter.)
- Emergency Fund for LGBTQ+ people of colour (Set up to provide short term support to Queer, Trans and Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTIBIPOC) currently living in the UK who are affected by the outbreak and ongoing shutdown caused by COVID-19. It has been set up to support those who are immunocompromised, chronically ill, asthmatic, in quarantine or elderly as well as those in precarious and threatening financial situations.)
- Gofundme page for Jennie Sablayan (Jennie was an NHS nurse who lost her battle against COVID-19. She dedicated her life to being a nurse and worked hard at UCLH in London, as well as an advisor to a nursing agency. All proceeds will go to her husband and two daughters.)
There are many more causes. Untold amounts of people in need. I implore you to do your research. A quick Google will reveal more charities and tragedies that require our help.
Petitions to Sign
Every hour, globally, one of Change.Org‘s petitions secures a victory. Petitions allow large amounts of people to document their wish for change. They are integrally related to police processes and parliamentary procedures: they amplify the voices of the many. Historians suggest the first documented petitions were from slaves building pyramids in ancient Egypt, as they attempted to petition for better working conditions. Now is the time we campaign for better living conditions, improved care and social justice for people of colour.
Petitions to get your voice heard
- Justice for George Floyd (George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, who asphyxiated him after multiple witnesses begged for it to stop. George committed no crime.)
- Justice for Sheykou Bayoh (Sheku Bayoh was detained in police custody in Kircaldy, near Edinburgh, Scotland. He did not leave police custody alive. His family, five years later, do not know how he died and police were adamant ‘we have nothing to apologise for’.)
- Justice for Tony McDade (Tony McDade was a transgender black man who was killed by police in Tallahassee.)
- Justice for Breonna Taylor (Breonna Taylor was in her home in when officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department barged in without a warning, broke through her door, fired off more than 20 bullets and took Breonna’s life. The officers walk free without consequences.)
- Justice for Ahmuad Arbery (Ahmuad was taking his morning jog in his neighborhood in Georgia and came across a white father and son who shot and killed him. There is video footage of this cold blooded murder but, the father and son who murdered an innocent man are walking free, because one is a former police officer.)
- Justice for Christopher Alder (He was wrongfully killed by police and had his body swapped before he was buried.)
- Petition to remove bail for Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd
- Petition for mandatory life sentences for police brutality
- Petition for more protections for black trans women in the UK
- Petition to instate punishments for police officers who shoot unarmed civilians
- Battle racism by updating GCSE reading lists (This calls to introduce a more reflective set of culturally relevant literature from POC authors. To inform youth of ‘how we can learn from acts of horror, and how we can lead by example to be the change we want to see, so we can prevent these events from happening again.’)
- Introduce Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting in the UK
- Suspend all UK exports of riot gear to the USA
We must question ourselves. How can we support POC in our community? What did our school teach us of racism and culture? How can we learn more? Active anti-racism and knowledge will help change and progress conversation.
Can’t donate? Alternative options
Youtuber, Zoe Amira, posted a video entitled ‘how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE)’. It includes fifty-six minutes of artwork and music from black creators. Due to the large amount of ads on the video, an even more sizeable revenue is generated. Amira lists only three points as to how one can ensure their views result in donation:
- Temporarily disable any browser ad blockers.
- Do not skip any ads that appear on the video.
- If you repeat the video, do it from the playlist, or click away and click the video again.
Listen and leave this playlist on repeat while you complete tasks throughout your day. Or, enjoy the beauty of the video’s music and art.
Resources to Read
As one of the most empowering forces in the world, education destroys social barriers. It enriches our perspective and facilitates our quality of learning throughout life. This cannot be achieved via an imbalance of historically inaccurate work. It is illogical to focus on one side of a story. Below, is a list of works that explain race, and racial injustice from a POC perspective.
Resources to Watch and Listen to
- Hidden Figures (All4)
- The Hate U Give (Hulu)
- American Son (Netflix)
- Black Power Mixtape (Prime Video)
- Fruitvale Station (Prime Video)
- Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
- Clemency (Prime Video)
- See You Yesterday (Netflix)
- When They See Us (Netflix)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
- I Am Not Your Negro (Prime Video)
- Just Mercy (Prime Video)
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- Dear White People (Netflix)
- Selma (Prime Video)
To listen to:
- 1619 – NY Times
- About Race
- Seeing White
- Momentum: A Race Forward
- Code Switch
- The Diversity Gap
- Intersectionality Matters!
- Pod for the Cause
- Pod Save the People
- The Combahee River Collective Statement
Where to find out more
This article is not exhaustive and I hope it helps to point you in the right direction. Signing one petition on Change.Org can lead you to a 1-Click sign page, where you can show your support quickly and efficiently.
Even a quick google will show you more information than I could possibly have time to collate. @perkin_amalaraj’s Google Document contains more information on how to educate yourself for free, UK groups who fight racism and an email template designed for correspondence with MP’s, concerning racism in the UK.
Featured Image Credit: Koshu Kunji on Unsplash