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11 Ways to Support Black Lives If You Can't Go to a Protest

Protesters across the U.S. have gathered every day over the past week to take action against police brutality and the murder of Black people, calling for justice reform and an end to systemic racism.

Attending a protest in person isn’t always an option for those living with a disability or chronic illness, especially given the risk of COVID-19 for those who are immunocompromised. But just because you can’t show up at a protest in your city doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the anti-racism movement in other ways.

From making sure you’re educated on the issues behind the protests (especially if you’re White) to donating to justice reform and contacting your representatives, it takes a village to dismantle the systemic racism America was built on. And if you’re a White person in this system, it can make a big impact when you step up to the plate and use your privilege to help move the needle.

Here’s what you can do if you can’t attend a protest:

1. Donate to Mutual Aid Funds

As protests continue across the country, people answered the call to donate to bail funds to support arrested protestors. So much so, bail fund organizations have more donations than they need, so organizers are suggesting donations to mutual aid funds. Here are a few places you can donate to provide resources and support to Black communities:

2. Get Educated

One of the first steps you can take as a White person to understand why these protests are happening is to get educated. Read about Black history from Black writers, your role as a White person in systemic racism (and how to dismantle it) — and take the initiative to do this work on your own. Here’s a great list to get you started:

3. Support Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Since then, the organization has organized protests, petitions and other activism to eradicate white supremacy and fight against violence. Here’s how you can support Black Lives Matter:

4. Support Justice Reform

Justice reform, from ending police brutality to ending mass incarceration, play a major role in working against anti-Black racism in the United States. Here are just four organizations you can get involved in or donate to:

5. Add Your Voice to a Petition

Petitions are just one tool we have to demand change and accountability from those who enable police brutality. You can find and sign some of the major petitions demanding justice here:

6. Get Involved With a Racial Justice Organization

In addition to nonprofits fighting for justice reform, you can join or donate to other racial justice organizations working to dismantle racism. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

7. Educate Your Children

Dismantling racism can start from a young age. Teach children about racism and slavery as well as develop an appreciation for Black cultural figures. Seek out books, games and toys that include cultures other than your own and make diversity a normal part of your child’s everyday life. These teaching tools can help:

8. Support Black-Owned Businesses

As businesses are hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a great time to reevaluate where you’re spending your money. In addition to paying attention to a company’s messaging about racial justice, you can directly support Black-owned businesses:

9. Contact Your Representatives

Your government representatives at all levels — federal, state and local — control the policy and money around policing in the U.S. You can write, call or email your representatives or the prosecutors in charge of a case and demand action. Keep in mind that state and local governments often control the police departments in your area. Here’s how to find your reps:

10. Combat Racism in Your Personal Life

Some of the most powerful work you can do to support Black lives starts at home. Petition for more people of color to be involved in your local groups. Those racist comments your family member makes? Call them out. Loved ones dismissing the experiences of people of color? Push back. Here are just two explainers to help:

11. Listen

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If your first reaction to the world is to say, “but not all white people,” then you need to take a step back and listen. If you’re not scared of being killed because of the color of your skin then you are in fact privileged. Listen to the people who are protesting and actually hear what they have to say. If you’re exhausted of hearing about it, then that most likely means you should be listening more. . . Not sure where to start? Read op-ed’s, follow people of all races and nationalities on Instagram — not just white people, read books that come from authors representing #ownvoices. Seriously… all you need to do is get out of your bubble and listen. . . #georgefloyd #whiteprivilegeisreal #blacklivesmatter

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If you’re not a person of color, one thing you should definitely be doing right now is get out of the way. Listen to Black people with an open mind and heart, lift their voices as opposed to speaking over people of color, and don’t dismiss their lived experiences. Start your listening here:

More Ideas on What You Can Do:

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Resources to take action NOW. As we mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Ahmaud Arbery, it is critical that white people and non-Black people of color actively participate in the Black liberation movement to dismantle white supremacist structures that violate the lives and safety of Black folx from Minnesota to Kentucky to Georgia to Tallahassee. ACTION STEPS: 1. Call Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and tell him to cut the police budget. (swipe left) 2. Donate to Black-run organizations in Minneapolis who are shaping local demands and supporting Black folx in MN: @blackvisionscollective and @reclaimtheblock 3. Call out and get informed on the history of anti-Blackness in our community! Have conversations with your loved ones about white supremacy and how other communities of color uphold these systems. @breabaker has just compiled a reading list, visit her links in her bio. 4. Follow folks who do anti-racist work, such a @colorofchange @weinspirejustice @conmijente @showingupforracialjustice @aafc.nyc @janayathefuture @angryasianfeminist @lsarsour @msladyjustice1 @misssaramora @villanuevaedgar @ndncollective If you have never taken action, now is a great time to start. We need solidarity and action.

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For even more ideas to fight for racial justice if you can’t attend a protest in person, check out the following list of suggestions:

Article updated June 4, 2020.

Header image via Sarah Schuster/The Mighty