Here’s What You Can Do to Demand Justice for Black Lives and Support Protestors Right Now

Shannon Barbour
·10 min read

From Cosmopolitan

The recent shooting of Jacob Blake, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, the news surrounding the October 2019 killing of Brianna Hill, and the horrifying way a white woman used her privilege to threaten Christian Cooper’s life in Central Park have sparked international protests against racism and police brutality in America.

Protestors in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Columbus, Anchorage, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, New York City, and across the nation were confronted by police in riot gear, tear gas, and, in the case of Louisville, Kentucky, gunshots. (While it’s unclear who fired a gun, according to the New York Times, seven demonstrators in Kentucky were shot by the police on May 28.) This was in stark contrast to how the protestors who decried the stay-at-home orders were treated.

If you feel helpless, confused, angry, or fired up, there are actions you can take right now to demand justice. Here’s how you can help:

Contact Government Officials

WCCO reported that mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey “called on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to press charges against the arresting officer for George Floyd’s Monday night death.” Since this petition was created, the four fired officers who were involved in his arrest and murder (Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng) have been charged. Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other cops are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Kueng and Lane are currently out on bail. Call Mayor Frey at 612-673-2100 or email him at CitizenInfo@Hennepin.us to let him know you demand justice and that these officers continue to be held accountable.

And don’t forget to contact Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 to demand all the officers involved in Floyd’s murder are held accountable by the law. The ACLU even pre-wrote scripts you can use so you don’t have to worry about what to say, and the NAACP made this easy form to contact your congressional officials to advocate for criminal justice reform.

Sign a Petition

Donate, Donate, Donate

So many of the organizations that are dedicated to helping save and advocate for Black lives are in desperate need of additional funds, as are the families involved. And many protestors are being held on bail, so donating to a bail fund helps combat mass incarceration as well as racial and economic disparities. Consider donating to the following:

Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

Read Up on the Issues

Teen Vogue and Elle compiled super-useful guides on anti-racism reads and how you can use your voice and privilege to fight for a better America. Also, check out Campaign Zero’s 10-step plan of action for ending police brutality and eight policies that can decrease police violence by 72 percent. Within the #8CantWait page, you can search your city and see if it has enacted any of the eight policies. If your city isn’t doing enough, the website automatically gives you the contact information for your mayor. (Note: While Campaign Zero does have some useful resources, many have criticized the organization and this initiative for its data analysis and lack of transparency, so please think deeply before you donate to it and as you read their materials.)

Be Cautious About What You Share Online

As many have pointed out, avoid sharing images of protestors who can later be found and targeted. Also, consider how sharing violent images of Black people being killed takes a mental and emotional toll on those who see them, especially without warning. You do not have to share a graphic video of a Black person being killed to demand justice and speak out against racism.

Photo credit: Star Tribune via Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Star Tribune via Getty Images - Getty Images

Protest Wisely

As people take to the streets to protest, it’s so important to know that if you’re an ally, your responsibility is to amplify the voices of Black people, make sure they’re not being mistreated by the police, and not incite violence or create a path of destruction. It’s totally understandable that people are upset and angry and have gone this direction—not telling anyone how to feel here!—but please keep in mind that it is Black people who will be accused and face the repercussions of looting and destroying cities during these protests even if they’re not the ones doing it.

Photo credit: Hannah Peters - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hannah Peters - Getty Images

If you can’t make it out to a protest, you can still participate virtually. Although the date for the virtual protest has passed, you’re still encouraged to contact Kentucky officials and go through this list of demands that Loralei HoJay, the creator of the Change.org petition for Taylor, thoughtfully wrote out for everyone:

Vote

Sometimes it feels like voting won’t change anything, but it’s vital that we all continue to exercise our right to vote. After all, positions like the attorney general in Kentucky are elected ones. Your vote matters, so use it. Check out this guide for all the information you need to register to vote.

Check in With Your Black Friends

Take time to check in with your Black friends, coworkers, and classmates who are struggling and still trying to go about their daily lives right now. A little goes a long way, but be sure to consider your relationship with them before reaching out and do so in a way that doesn’t put any additional burdens on them.

You Might Also Like