Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student…
Almost 10 days ago, the world was privy to a heinous crime, the unjustified death of George Floyd. The 46-year-old African American man was pinned to the ground by Minnesota police and died due to asphyxiation. The video of his death was streamed on Facebook Live initiating outrage and beginning the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement.
This case ignited a nation to rise up because one too many of our African American brothers and sisters have been senselessly killed due to police brutality. There have been protests in all 50 states and the power of our voices has lit a fire across the globe with protests being held in major cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin.
The call to change, the call to fight and resist the system has finally brought attention to this broken system. Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison has increased the charges on office Derek Chauvin from third-degree murder to second-degree murder and has charged the other three officers that were with him with aiding and abetting the murder. The #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement is a small but positive step towards change, the journey to conviction is still long.
Protests have sent a powerful message to the government, but there are many who can’t support through marching in a protest due to numerous issues, including the fear of COVID-19 and the impossibility of social distancing. However, there is more than one way to spark change, if you can’t hit a march, here is a list of ways you can still join the fight for George Floyd and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
1. Sign the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd Petition
Color of Change has a petition you can sign that calls for the four officers involved to not just be charged but have their pensions revoked and have them blocked from working in law enforcement. Signing the petition also sends a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and District Attorney Michael Freeman. You can sign the petition here or text FLOYD to 55156.
Change.org also has a petition up to help get justice for George Floyd. You can access the petition here.
2. Reach Out to Officials
Aside from signing the petition you can also directly reach out to the mayor and DA. You can write a letter to the mayor here or call DA Freeman at 612-348-5550 to let your voice be heard. Reach out to your own local leaders to push for changes in the criminal justice system and to hold police officers accountable for their actions.
George Floyd is not the only person in need of our help, head to Change.org to help get justice for Ahmaud Arbery and Brianna Taylor for their wrongful deaths as well.
Maasai Godwin created a link that will take you to a pre-written email template that you can send to Minnesota officials which just a few clicks straight from her Instagram bio.
3. Spread the Knowledge
Use your power, utilize your voice to spread important information regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement. From information about how to prepare for protests to connecting friends and family with resources so they can learn and educate themselves, share the information through your social media pages. Share links about future protests, vigils or information lists like this national list regarding legal help and places to donate.
4. Help Support the Floyd Family
In the run for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd helping the Floyd family is also imporatant. They have set up ways we can help support them financially and donate to the memorial fund created by his family. Floyd’s brother Philonise created a memorial fund for his brother and sister Bridgett has been raising money to help take care of the future of Floyd’s daughter, Gianna.
5. Amplify Black Voices
This movement is about the pain of our Black brothers and sisters and it is our job to amplify their voices. This is not a time to get wrapped up in our own experiences but allow space for their experiences to be heard. Visit the social media pages of black thinkers, activists, politicians, athletes, actors, writers, filmmakers, and public figures. Follow them, share their posts, make their voices heard.
6. Check-in on Friends
This is a traumatic and painful time for African Americans everywhere, so check-in on your friends. Make sure they are okay, ask if they need help with anything, and don’t forget to check-in on their mental health. Acknowledge your own privilege and recognize this is a time for our Black brothers and sisters. Listen to their stories and send your love and support because this is a vulnerable time for them.
7. Support Black-Owned Businesses
Google “black-owned business in (your city name)” or “black-owned restaurants in (your city name)” to find a local list of Black-owned businesses. Many of these small businesses have been hit by the pandemic and are struggling, they need your support.
8. What to Watch
There are tons of films, many made by the queen, Ava DuVernay, about life as an African American. Watch the films, shows, and documentaries about what it is like to live as a person of color in society. These films can give you a moment’s glimpse of what it is like these to see the world through their eyes and to understand the whole #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement better. Here is a list of a famous few:
- Blue Eyed (Bertram Berhaag & Jane Elliot)
- Hidden Colors (Tariq Nasheed)
- American Trial: The Eric Garner Story
- The Kalief Browder Story (Julia Willoughby-Nason)
- 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- Against all Odds: the fight for a Black middle class (Bob Herbert)
- Nine from Little Rock (Charles Guggenheim)
- American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
- Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — Hulu with Cinemax
- Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu)
- Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
- Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
- Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton)
- King In The Wilderness — HBO
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
- Selma (Ava DuVernay)
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
9. What you Should Read
In life we should all be constantly learning, if we stop, we’re dead, so keep educating yourself on the cause. Read about the systematic racism in our society, read about the experiences of African Americans, and what they have to say. Pick up a book about how deeply rooted their pain is and there are stories dissecting the subject from all angles.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesly Lowery
- White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
- Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority by Tim Wise
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
- Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
- How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
by Grace Lee Boggs
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
- When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
10. Acknowledge and Educate Your Own People
We cannot deny that the South Asian society has anti-black sentiments, and we cannot keep giving the older generation “a pass” because of their age. Respectfully educate them about their implicit biases and the colorism that is rampant within our culture. These views that light skin is more beautiful than darker skin needs to change, change starts at home and it is time to be that change.
Here is a list of resources you can use to educate others from podcasts to books you can read.
11. Donate and Support Social Justice Organizations if you can
There are a lot of funds out there that you can donate to from the Black Lives Matter the George Floyd Memorial Fund. You can also donate to various bail funds that support those imprisoned. Check out the following social justice organizations for more information on how to donate and be a part of the solution
- Black Lives Matter
- The Loveland Foundation
- Campaign Zero
- Reclaim the Block
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Communities United Against Police Brutality
- Equal Justice Initiative
- The Bail Project
- Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp
- The American Civil Liberties Union
- The Minnesota Freedom Fund
Take a look at Section III of this national list of resources with an extensive list of various organizations you can donate to by State.
12. Talk to Your Children
It is times like this that we want everyone to remember that love is an innate emotion humans are born with, we are taught to hate. It can be confusing for children as they are so pure and filled with love, they may not understand the hate that is on the rise or the pain of the people around them. Teach them, talk to them, find an age-appropriate way to help them understand what is going on so they can be educated and grow up to bring us a better tomorrow. There are many resources online like Tech and Transform as well as The Conscious Kid.
Be open with them, answer their questions, help them understand what happened, and to understand the history of African Americans. Help the next generation understand why African Americans today are so angry at their situation, help them understand why these changes need to happen now. Teach your kids that all people are created equal, to protect each other, to accept and love the differences between themselves and their peers
13. Vote! Vote! Vote!
Voting is a powerful way to spark change in our government. Get your own ballot in, encourage your friends and family to go out and vote to change the situation. If we change the players of the game, maybe, just maybe we will finally be heard.
Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student who was born and raised in New York City. There is very little she loves more than Harry Potter marathons, pizza, 90s Bollywood, bagels, falooda, and her family. She hopes to use her powers for good by spreading mental health awareness and positivity in the South Asian community through her love of writing.