Updated: Jul 21, 2020
If there was ever a time to show your alliance then that time is now!
Posted June 6, 2020
Racism is no stranger on American land. However, the most recent police killings and racial antics have stirred up the country in ways that we have not seen since Rodney King’s violent beating by LAPD. Even though the Karen’s of the world still try to keep Jim Crow alive, I can say many millennials, gen-z, and other marginalized groups have stepped forward to protect and advocate for black people. The Black Lives Matter movement has been around since 2013 after the wrongful killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Seven years later many Americans are crowding the streets of their cities in alliance with #BLM in the demand of justice, convictions, and political change. Many people even black people themselves are questioning how they can support and share their solidarity during this time. Well here are some ways:
One of the biggest movements circulating the nation right now are the mass protests that have been occurring daily since last weeks tragedy. Despite the pandemic still being present many protestors have taken to the streets with their masks and hand sanitizer. For them, this fight is bigger than COVID. If your radical side is burning for you to take part in these protests, there are some things you may want to know first.
· WEAR YOUR PPE. Normally this would not be a requirement, but COVID-19 is still present and there is a higher risk factor joining protest with thousands of people present who potentially can be carriers of the virus. Protect yourself by wearing the appropriate PPE and still maintaining healthy hygiene routines. I recommend bringing extra masks, plastic gloves, and hand sanitizer.
· STAY HYDRATED!! This is VERY important. Summer has arrived and you do not want to be walking for extended periods of time without staying hydrated. WATER, WATER, WATER! I cannot stress that enough. Bring a backpack and keep bottles of water and some snacks.
· SAFETY PLAN. It has been known for law enforcement to retaliate even in peaceful protests with tear gas, pepper spray, and shooting rubber bullets. Develop a safety plan for all worst-case scenarios possible so you are prepared instead of reactive. This also includes medical conditions. If you have an inhaler, epi-pen, medication, etc. BRING IT!! Also let others know where to find it if they need to administer it.
· BRING A SMALL BAG OR FANNY PACK. You don’t want to carry anything heavy or bulky but you want to make sure you have water, bottle of milk (if you are pepper sprayed), snacks, first aid items, phone charger, cash, and ID. You do not need a lot of things, but you WILL want to have these. Stay away from hard plastics and glass bottles.
· GO TO A PROTEST IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE ORGANIZERS. You want to make sure that the protest you are attending is a legitimate protest for what you are fighting for. Unfortunately, individuals with other motives use moments like this to be deceitful and carry out other agendas. It is important that you stay safe and practice stranger danger. You do not need to know the organizers personally but follow their social media and send them a message if you want confirmation.
· GO BY YOURSELF. The buddy system is ideal when choosing to attend protest. Someone should know where you are always if things get hectic. Share your location on your Iphone with your group and someone who is not at the protest. Decide on a meet up location away from the protesting area if the crowd gets crazy and your group gets separated. Bring a fully charged phone and a phone charger if you need to contact someone. Have a paper emergency contact list on you or attached somewhere visible in the event of an emergency for allys who may need to reach a family member or friend. This emergency contact list will also be helpful for you in the event of an arrest and you need to contact someone to bail you out.
· INTENTIONALLY ANTAGONIZE POLICE OR ANTI-PROTESTORS. Looking to pick a fight during a protest will never end well and will disrupt the true message of what you are fighting for. Do not deliberately pick fights, destroy property, or anything else that will jeopardize your safety and the safety of others. I want you to stand up for a cause but I rather you be safe doing so.
· BE OBLIVIOUS. You can take photos and videos during the protest, but it should never be to the point that you do not know what is happening around you. You must always stay vigilant in case you need to act quickly.
· WEAR CONTACTS! I wear prescription contacts and glasses so I will be adhering to this. Keep your eyes protected with glasses, safety glasses, sunglasses, anything BUT contacts. If you are pepper sprayed the contact lenses will adhere to your eyes like glue and can cause permanent eye damage like blindness.
· BRING ANYTHING VALUABLE. I do not think I have to elaborate on this for obvious reasons.
If you are arrested during protesting PLEASE call 1-833- 3-GOODCALL (1-833-346-6322) to speak to a lawyer immediately for free. They are available 24/7.
For more do’s and don’ts for protesting check out The Lily
Protesting is not for everyone and THAT’S OKAY! Do not let anyone shame you into thinking otherwise. You may feel more comfortable donating to the cause instead. Currently Grounded Truth has partnered with Breyonne Golding (Minneapolis City Planner and my sister), Tiffany Green (Community Advocate & School Counselor), and local churches in the Northside community of Minneapolis. We are raising funds to help the Northside Community of Minneapolis get essential needs since the only grocery store serving their community was destroyed by outside looters. Chances are that it will be a very long time before this low-income community gets another grocery store. In the meantime, we are helping our black brothers and sisters sustain essential living through purchasing items such as cleaning products, laundry detergent, baby wipes, etc with the donation funds. If you would like to donate to our cause, CLICK HERE.
Anyone donating with us will be provided updates on how their contributions have helped the Northside community.
Here are some other causes you can choose to donate to as well! Just make sure you are on the official website before sending money over. Some donations are also accepting items. If you are not comfortable with sending a monetary donation see if there is an option to drop off or mail item donations.
3. BUY BLACK
This is a great way to support black communities is by supporting black businesses. Many black business owners often pour a percentage of their profit back into the communities that they serve. This is a great way to show solidarity and to replace items, services, or food with organizations and businesses that fund certain police departments, Trump’s campaigns, jails, or are against the LGBTQ community. Here is a list of some black business I support and links to others you can explore:
Natural & Herbal Products:
Last, if you are a black business owner or if you know a black business owner take a look at this article Support Black Business from Fin Impact. They have composed a list of amazing resources that can financially assist black business owners which is crucial for the longevity of business during this pandemic. Their goal is to assist different business by matching them with funding opportunities that can support their business vision.
4. GO VOTE!
Primary elections are happening so check the date for your state’s election days. People have this connotation that voting does not matter. The also view voting only as presidential elections. Both are misguided beliefs because citizens choose government officials to represent their city and state. In my opinion carriers’ greater weight than who the president is. You should know who your General District Attorney, Judges, Congressman, City Council, etc. is because their positions are important and has the capacity to determines a person’s way of living and holds those accountable who need to be held accountable. You want to vote leaders in office who has you, your family, and your community’s best interest at heart. This does require some research but at least you know and have a say on who is representing you.
If you are not registered to vote click the link to get started.
5. CONTACT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
This is another form of support some people have a negative connotation about. “My government official is not going to listen to me”. There is strength in numbers! Calling and writing does and can make a difference when you are demanding certain actions to be taken. No political figure wants to be placed on a chopping block for going against their constituents. They also understand the risk of losing their political seat by choosing not to support voters in their asks. Find your state representative HERE.
Contacting government officials does not only mean calling and writing your state government officials. Right now you can:
6. USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Let us be real we all do this anyway! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the home for opinions, rants, and all other random things in between. You can use your social media platform to advocate your stance on social issues like police brutality and injustices. Or you can choose to use your platform to spread resources and create learning opportunities for others. If you are choosing to share information, please make sure it is current and comes from a reliable source. There are many satire sites stirring up their own controversy so do not help them by sharing faulty information. Facebook has been great by placing filters over shared articles they deem as fake news, but they cannot get to every post that is shared. Be thoughtful in your posts especially during this time because everyone is under scrutiny on where they stand.
Download this Facebook Banner and post in on your Facebook page to join solidarity
Petitions help when organizers go before their government leaders demanding change. It is written proof of the numbers (remember there is strength in numbers). Numbers equal votes so for a politician that means his or her voters will either be for them or against them depending on how they choose to respond. Here are some petitions that you may be in favor of choosing to support.
8.TAKE UP SPACE
This is the one! Yup, take up every inch, nook, crawl space there is to advocate and protect black lives. This can look like a multitude of ways starting with specifically addressing black people as black people. Not POC or African Americans because those are terms that is not exclusive to black people and some blacks do not identify with those terms. You want to be specific with identify JUST black people. No! This does not mean other POC do not matter but right now we are strictly focusing on BLACK LIVES! Businesses and organizations that have black employees, black customers, black consumers, and black clients need to take up space. I would hope if you have not already, you are currently in the works of making a PUBLIC statement of your alliance. You cannot say you are for black lives if you cannot verbally acknowledge their lives matter. My white ally’s, THIS IS THE COOKOUT so in the words of Rihanna “Pull up!”. You cannot have white fragility and be for black people. It is time to intervene when you see other whites or any other race threatening black lives. Silence is no longer an option. (Honestly, it never was an option, but I digress).
FUN FACT! If you did not know already. Four of the original founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP) were white. These white progressives are Mary White Ovington, Henry Moskowitz, William English Walling and Oswald Garrison Villard, along with black founders W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida Wells-Barnett, Archibald Grimke and Mary Church Terrell. Black rights also need the voices of white people to hold their white counterparts accountable.
This is also for our white ally’s and some blacks too (like Candace Owens). Do your part by conducting your own research. It is not the job of black people to teach you about black lives and black history. We were robbed of our own history within school textbooks and had to learn our history in other means. Asking a black person about their “black experience” is not okay because all black experiences are different and should not be classified as the same. However, racial conversations should exist, but they are more productive when both parties can come to the table with some level of knowledge. These conversations are supposed to be difficult and challenge biases, but any growth and change are birthed from discomfort so embrace it. Currently Yale is offering a free 8-week black history course starting Monday, June 8th. I will be one of the facilitators for a Facebook Group based on these courses. To join the group CLICK HERE. This can be a great place to start. There are many books and documentaries that also offer the same level of information.
10. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL
You may wonder why this is on the list but constantly being exposed to trauma on the news, social media, in person can take a toll on your mental at some point. This is heavy stuff, so you must leave room for healing and regrouping, or the other 9 ways will not matter. Decompress for a few hours a day to restore balance to continue the fight. Many mental health organizations have created safe spaces for those who need a break from the trauma cycle. If you do not take care of yourself during this time you will feel numbness, the need to shut down, and possibly isolate yourself. This is hard for all of us so we must take care of ourselves first so we can have strength to take care of others.
Here are some organizations to follow