How to Keep Supporting Racial Justice After the Protests Are Done
For the fight against racism to be successful, we need to be supporting racial justice everyday.
Since the murder of George Floyd, while in police custody in Minnesota, there has been an outpour of support for the fight against racism from all around the world. While this support is extremely important, it is also crucial to keep the fight against racism going after the protests are done. If you’ve been looking for ways you can keep supporting racial justice, here is a handy list to get you started. After all, it is more important than ever to support the Black Lives Matter movement and become anti-racist.
Check your own biases
The fight against racism starts with self-accountability. Therefore, you should still make time to examine your own racial prejudices, even if you don’t think you have any. “On a personal level people can continue to racial injustice by checking their own biases and challenging other people to do the same,” says Melissa N. Green, Psy.D. licensed clinical psychologist at Resilience and Psychological Fitness, LLC. “First they should create a list of all the stereotypes they are aware of about different ethnic groups (i.e. White, Black, Asian, Hispanic), then ask themselves, ‘What parts of these things do I believe?'” Check out these podcasts about race to help you examine racism.
Educate yourself on racism
It’s impossible to adequately support social justice if you don’t understand racism. Therefore, the first step in supporting racial justice is to educate yourself. “Just because you know one or two Black people that you eat lunch with does not mean you haven’t been impacted by white supremacy. You are so impacted in ways you don’t even realize,” says Froswa’ Booker-Drew, PhD, author, speaker, trainer, and consultant. Here are some essential books you can start reading to better understand racism.
Don’t expect people of color to explain things to you
Self-education is important, and so is listening to the experiences of people of color. However, this doesn’t mean your minority friends need to explain racism to you. “Educate yourself on what is really happening around you. Don’t ask your Black friends to explain it to you. A simple Google search can tell you everything you need to know,” says Fabiana Meléndez, a publicist at Zilker Media. Here’s what a person of color tells their white friends who want to help.
Hold brands accountable
When was the last time you looked into what causes your favorite brands are supporting? If you can’t remember, it might be time to get on it. There are four questions you should be asking to see whether or not brands are taking meaningful action, according to Jennifer “Jen” Kem, brand futurist, business strategist and leadership mentor to women-founded companies. “Are they listening to their community and committed to learning? Are they educating their audience with an expert in diversity, equality and inclusion? Are they staying true to their messaging and bridging their conversations about race? Are they reassessing their values to include ‘People’ and ‘Inclusion’?” says Kem.
Invest in black-owned businesses
The way you spend your money can help more than you think. “An excellent way to continue to support racial justice after the protests have subsided is to reinvest into businesses that are black-owned and that are making contributions to organizations that are fighting for racial equality and justice,” says Marta Sandoval, entrepreneur and beauty enthusiast behind the plus-size/beauty brand Marteekah. “As a beauty enthusiast that serves women of color, I ask my community of makeup enthusiasts to consider buying from black-owned makeup brands that not only have their best interest in mind, by creating products tailored for women of color, but also reinvesting their profits into underserved communities.”
“Vote and become involved in local and state elections. Police in your city are controlled by state and local policies, so you must become active in your local elections of judges, prosecutors, mayors, state legislators, and so on. This is where you can create the most immediate change,” says Shakti Butler, PhD, filmmaker and anti-racism educator.
Reach out to your representatives
Voting is important, but that alone doesn’t get the job done. “Sign petitions, reach out to your local, state and federal leaders and authorities to examine upcoming legislation that is harmful or helpful. Send statements or plan to testify,” says Dr. Booker-Drew.
Support non-profit organizations
There are many organizations out there whose mission is to support social justice—and donating to them can help further their cause. Here are some charities and organizations that need your support to get you started.
Have discussions about racism
“Parents, especially white parents, speak to your children honestly about this history of racism in America. Black parents are forced to warn their children about racism as a means to keep them alive. White parents must have a different conversation to shoulder their responsibility and teach their children about racism,” says Dr. Butler. “In these conversations, parents must teach their children that the lives of every human being is precious, no matter how different you may perceive someone to be. They are a human being, therefore their life matters just as much as yours. Furthermore, children can be taught to speak up about fairness and equality from the time they are young. After all, even a five-year-old knows that standing on the neck of another person is just wrong.”
Build a diverse network
It’s hard to understand people’s experiences with racism if you’re not part of a racially-diverse circle. “Build your network to enhance your perspective. Just listen. If everyone in your circle of influence looks like you, expand your circle,” says Dr. Booker-Drew. “The goal is not to be right but to offer a space to hear voices different than your own that are not heard.”
Keep the conversation alive
Black Lives Matter is trending now, but no real change can be done if people only talk about racial justice when it’s a trendy topic. “Don’t let this be a one and done so that we forget as quickly as we became angry in the first place,” says Dr. Green. Here are powerful photos that show global solidarity against racial injustice.
Become a monthly donor
“Monthly donations are a great way to support grassroots organizations. By committing monthly, organizations can begin to rely on steady funds,” says Rita Carmona, development and cultural activism coordinator for I Grow Chicago. “Nonprofits are constantly fundraising and looking for opportunities of support to survive. This means there’s energy that can be put into healing and creating a community that is being put into sustaining the work.”
Make a financial pledge
“There is a popular pledge amongst corporations going around for 15 percent of their profits to go to supporting Black people due to 15 percent of our United States population being Black,” says Carmona. “This is a good start. Make it personal. Look at the city you live in and look at what you can afford.” Next, check out the most powerful signs seen at Black Lives Matter protests.
For more on this important issue, see our guide to the Fight Against Racism.