We at The Optimist Daily are committed to sharing solutions, even when the problems we address are complex and deep-rooted. Many of the issues we cover are hotly debated and almost all do not have singular solutions, but rather require a constant dialogue to move towards a better future. The issues of police brutality and racism, spurred by the killing of George Floyd and many other black Americans, have fueled protests across the US calling for police reform and accountability for those who perpetrated the crimes. If you would like to take action towards eliminating racial injustice and racial-based violence, but are unsure of where to start, here are tangible ways to have a positive impact.
- Donate to Black Lives Matter: You can find the main donation page here.
- Get involved with your local BLM chapter: The full list is here.
- Or start your own: More info here.
- Donate to a bail fund: Some Twitter users are crowd-sourcing lists of local organizations that help bail out protesters who get arrested. Thread here.
- Or another bail fund: This crowd-sourced Google Doc of bail funds keeps getting bigger.
- Support the National Police Accountability Project: This group, a project of the National Lawyers Guild, helps people find legal counsel. More info here.
- Support Campaign Zero, a police reform group that has been working on policy solutions “informed by data and human rights principles. More info here.
- Sign a petition: Civil rights group Color of Change launched a petition asking that all the officers involved in Floyd’s death are brought to justice. Find it here.
- Or another petition: The “Justice for George Floyd” petition on Change.org already has 8.5 million supporters. That sends a big message. Find it here.
In addition to using your voice and dollars to propagate the change, you can, especially as a non-person of color, make a conscious and daily effort to educate yourself on the experience of black Americans and the history of slavery and racism in the United States. Some great books to start with are The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (a more extensive anti-racist reading list can be found here). Some good podcasts to check out are 1619 by the NYTimes and Code Switch by NPR. Lastly, films and documentaries such as 13th and When They See Us on Netflix, as well as The Hate U Give on Hulu are also great options.
Remember to vote! Voting on the local, state, and federal levels is a way to communicate your values and help implement change in an official capacity. President Obama released a statement yesterday morning urging protestors to remember the value of representation in the democratic system saying, “The bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both.” Stay informed on candidates and measures and use your vote to choose who and what to support.
Finally, we encourage you to not be silent on issues of race. Change can only occur when we begin to discuss the root of issues and the different ways in which they manifest in our societies. Have meaningful conversations about what is happening in the US and truly listen when black Americans are sharing their experiences and their needs. Although this is far from a comprehensive list of all the ways to get involved in the fight for racial equality, we hope this list is helpful for those looking for a starting point.