In light of recent events, the question on most people’s minds is, what could I do as an individual to further the cause of equal rights for black and brown citizens of the United States?
We witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police this past week and it sparked worldwide outrage. It was the ultimate breaking point. Enough is enough. There are many more victims’ names to add to the list and justice must be served, especially when it comes to police brutality and systematic racism in the United States and far beyond.
As recently as March, police served a search warrant to the wrong home and shot Breonna Taylor eight times. In February, a white father and son killed Ahmaud Arbery in his own neighborhood while he was jogging. The list of racial injustices that people of color face on a daily basis goes on and on.
These past weeks have highlighted how huge the issue is, even though this has been going on for over 400 years. Things have not gotten better, and we as a country cannot tolerate this systemic oppression any longer. We at A Girl in LA stand as allies and in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
As a white citizen, I do not know how or what it’s like to be a BIPOC. I will never know the struggles; I will never experience the discrimination. This is because of white privilege. White privilege can give white people the view that everyone in this country has equal rights because we have the same laws. However, people of color experience monumental differences, not only by the police but by ordinary citizens. Our responsibility as allies is to recognize and act upon this.
White privilege comes with many benefits that most of us don’t think about since our system and culture treats it as the norm. I have seen my privilege in day-to-day life, such as getting out of a simple speeding ticket. If I had been a person of color, I most likely would have had a much different experience. Our system likes to pretend that this doesn’t exist. Therefore, it is our sole responsibility as a white person to confront the privilege, actively educate ourselves (and others), and be progressively anti-racist.
We must listen to people of color and learn about their firsthand experiences. We must speak up, speak out, and challenge racism when speaking to intolerant people. We must use our social media platforms to educate others about the true reality of racism, police brutality, and inequality. (Twitter has been an amazing platform during this time, sharing so many resources and videos from the protests unseen on mainstream media). Anti-racism is a set of actions, such as calling out racist actions, words, and beliefs, no matter the cost. We can be constant and active allies to truly effect change.
I think the first thing we could do is to refrain from making assumptions as to how a person of color really feels. I cannot claim to know the struggles that people go through each and every day of their lives. What I can do is educate myself in the historical sense, but also ask questions and listen with an open mind. It is only by hearing their plight that we can begin to understand their frustration and fears. We must de-prioritize white comfort by understanding we will never be as uncomfortable in our challenge of racism as a minority person who faces it is.
Some questions you may ask yourself when wondering how to support BIPOC are:
- What can you do to support POC in your community?
- What actions can you take in your local government, such as emailing representatives to fight for justice and equality?
- What do you want to learn more about? How will you go about learning?
- How can you educate others about race and oppression?
- What steps can you take to help end racial discrimination and systematic oppression?
- How can you be actively anti-racist instead of “not racist”?
- How can you use your anti-racist knowledge to change and educate your friends, family, and peers?
More things you can do to be an ally…
Donate to organizations:
- Black Lives Matter—an advocate of justice for black people across the globe.
- Color of Change—a progressive civil rights advocacy group formed after Hurricane Katrina.
- ACLU—a nonprofit formed in 1920 dedicated to defending the rights of all.
- Campaign Zero—dedicated to ending police violence in America.
- Minnesota Freedom Fund—a nonprofit that pays for the bail of those who can’t.
- Black Visions Collective—an organization dedicated to black liberation and collective liberation.
Support stores and restaurants owned by BIPOC:
- Black Book LA—a collection of black-owned businesses in and around Los Angeles.
Share legal resources:
- Bail fund—a list of bail funds and legal help throughout the U.S.
- National Bail Fund Network—over 60 community bail and bond funds across the country.
March and protest:
- BLM chapter—find your local chapter.
- March & Rally Los Angeles—a guide to protests and marches happening in L.A.
- Invisible—creating power by working together.
Sign and share a petition:
Support organizations that promote equality:
- National Police Accountability Project—protecting your civil rights and human rights in regards to law enforcement.
- NAACP Legal Defense Educational Fund—provides legal assistance.
- People’s Action—united in fighting for justice.
- Southern Poverty Law Center—known for its justice against white supremacists and hate groups.
- Equal Justice Initiative—protecting human rights and ending mass incarceration.
- Race Forward—united in promoting racial equality.
- Sentencing Project—striving to have a fair and balanced U.S. criminal justice system.
- Unicorn Riot—on the ground alternative media.
- Proteus Fund—protecting the right to protest.
Follow powerful voices on social media:
- Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Brittany Packnett, Mustafa the Poet, Clint Smith III, By Blacks, Black Lives Matter
Watch, listen, and read about police brutality and racism:
Films and TV shows: Boyz n the Hood, Crash, A Bronx Tale, 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, Ghosts of Mississippi, Higher Learning, Do the Right Thing, A Raisin in the Sun, Blackkklansman, American History X, An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win, Django Unchained, Detroit, Menace II Society, Training Day, Malcolm X, Lean on Me, Straight Outta Compton, Queen & Slim, Atlanta, Selma, Seven Seconds, When They See Us, Dear White People, 13th
Listen: Alright by Kendrick Lamar, The Beauty of Gray by Live, This is America by Childish Gambino, Sandra’s Smile by Blood Orange, Be Free by J.Cole, Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley, How Many by Miguel, Erase Racism by Kool G Rap, ft. DJ Polo, Big Daddy Kane, and Biz Markie, Freedom by Beyonce ft. Kendrick Lamar, Biko by Peter Gabriel, Don’t Shoot by The Game ft. Rick Ross, Diddy, etc., Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCarney and Stevie Wonder, Fight the Power by Public Enemy, Black or White by Michael Jackson, FTP by YG and Nipsey Hussle, White Privilege II by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Jamila Woods, No Justice No Peace by Z-Ro ft. Mike Dean, Changes by 2Pac, F*ck Tha Police by N.W.A.
Books: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Hate U Give, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., The Color Purple, How to Be an Antiracist
Articles and websites: White Privilege Resource Guide, Spotting Our Own White Privilege, Explaining White Privilege To a Broke White Person, What White People Can Do for Racial Justice, Protest Op-Ed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Black History Month Library, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
A Girl in LA
*This article contains some affiliate links and any commissions made will be donated to Black Lives Matter.