Even if you can’t physically join demonstrations, there are still several ways you can take action to show your support
The killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis last week has rightfully caused mass outrage across the world. On Sunday (May 31), thousands of people took part in an anti-racist protest in London, which saw many protestors kneel and repeat: “No justice, no peace” and “Say my name, George Floyd”. Further protests are set to happen today (June 3) at London’s Hyde Park, on June 6 at the Grey’s Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne and at London’s Parliament Square, and on June 7 at the US Embassy in London.
While huge crowds expected to join the protests in the coming days, not everyone wanting to attend may be able to. Perhaps you’re unable to travel to the demonstration, or live with a vulnerable person who might be exposed to coronavirus. Others might feel anxious in large crowds, or have been instructed to stay at home because of illness. But just because you can’t attend, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action.
There’s still several ways you can actively demonstrate your support, such as emailing your local MP, donating money to bail funds, and engaging in (responsible) virtual activism. If you haven’t already, educate yourself with our running list of anti-racism resources, keep an eye out for misinformation, and then read on below.
EMAIL YOUR LOCAL MPS
Please don't just post a black square. Write to your MP now with these demands:— Zing Tsjeng (@misszing) June 2, 2020
- Immediate suspension of UK sales of teargas, riot shields + rubber bullets to the US
- Condemn Trump's use of force against his own citizens
- Release the delayed report into BAME Covid deaths
Changing legislation is one of the most practical ways to improve Black lives in the UK, so it’s important to hold our political representatives accountable. Write to your local MP and tell them to halt the sales of tear gas, riot shields, and plastic bullets – which have been used by the police to harm peaceful protesters – in the US. It’s important to pressure MPs to publicly condemn Donald Trump’s treatment of protestors, which widely disregards any notion of civil or human rights.
If you’re unsure of what to write, you can find an example template here. Another template by @perkin_amalaraj, directed towards speaking out against racism in the UK, can be found here, and includes important resources such as BAME deaths in police custody, and information on how to support BAME people during COVID-19.
If British-made riot control equipment is being used to attack unarmed protesters and journalists in the US, those exports must immediately be stopped. We cannot be a party to the violence of the American President against his own people. My full letter to Liz Truss is attached. pic.twitter.com/qbfoFsZ4sw— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) June 2, 2020
Email your MP to ask them to support further investigation into the death of Belly Mijunga, a Black railway worker who died from coronavirus two weeks after being spat at by a man who claimed he had the virus, while Mijunga was working at Victoria station in London. The British Transport Police recently confirmed that no further action is being taken in relation to her death. Send an email using the template here.
You should also email Gavin Williamson, secretary of state for education, to make Black histories mandatory in the national curriculum. Check out The Black Curriculum for more information, ways to take action, and example templates. Also sign the Change.org petition here.
If you’re unsure of who your local representatives are, websites like writetothem.com list every level of government local to you when you put in your postcode, including councillors, assembly members, MPs, and MEPs. It also includes their email addresses and details on how to write to members of the House of Lords (who are not elected, but still get to vote in parliament).
DONATE TO FUNDS AND SUPPORT INITIATIVES
Support platforms and initiatives that support Black people, including The Bail Project, which provides funds to pay bail for those who have been arrested during the protests. You can split your donation between the 39 bail funds – including the Philadelphia Bail Fund, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, the Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund Network, and the Mississippi Bail Fund Collective – here.
You can donate to Black Lives Matter; The National Memorial Family Fund for the families of victims of police brutality; The Movement For Black Lives initiative that aims to support organisations to conduct conversations around current political conditions; North Star Health Collective, which coordinates and provides health services, resources, and training to protestors in Minnesota; Reclaim the Block, which moves money from the police force to help support other areas of the community in Minneapolis; and Black Visions Creative, a community-led initiative supporting Black leadership in Minnesota.
In the UK, you can donate to Belly Mujinga’s family, including her daughter; UK Black Lives Matter; UK Black Protest Legal Support; The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, an educational charity created “to tackle inequality in all forms”; Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI), which provides support for people who have suffered hate crimes, including racist, homophobic, or transphobic attacks; and Stop Hate UK, an organisation commited to supporting people affected by hate crimes.
This message has never rung so true than in recent days since the tragic event, surrounding George Floyd.— Stop Hate UK (@stophateuk) June 3, 2020
We've been truly overwhelmed by people's support & generosity & feel, together, we can tackle the issues of racism, discrimination & hatred in the world.#StrongerTogetherpic.twitter.com/DovuoxFl0P
WATCH TO DONATE
If you’re tight on money, a new YouTube video allows you to earn funds for Black Lives Matter and other organisations that are supporting and providing bail for protesters amid the ongoing demonstrations, even if you don’t have any money to donate yourself.
The one hour video uploaded by Zoe Amira features music, poetry, and art from black creatives – but the most important thing to watch is the adverts. Amira says she will be donating 100 per cent of the ad revenue gained from the video to a selection of organisations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Distribution will be based on the organisations that need it most at the time.
Just make sure you’ve got any ad blockers turned off and don’t skip over the ads. A good way to boost the project’s visibility based on the YouTube algorithm is to also leave a like and a comment on the video. Even if the video is then left on mute to play in another tab, it should raise money passively for the featured causes and organisations, which include American bail funds such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, as well as Reclaim the Block, ACLU, and money-raising efforts for the families of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
So far, the video is approaching three million views. Watch it here.
It's here! donate to #BlackLivesMatter protester funds with your time and your views. given the pandemic, I know opening your wallet to donate to important causes is more difficult than ever, so here you can donate by watching ads instead! LIKE, SHARE, RT https://t.co/nmL24xfW52— 💫 Z O E . A M I R A 💫 (@zoeamira1) May 31, 2020
To demand justice for George Floyd, you can sign the petition here. To demand that the police officers involved with Floyd’s death are arrested and charged with second-degree murder, you can sign the petition here. To demand the immediate arrest of the other three officers who were present when Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck, sign the petition here.
To demand justice for Breonna Taylor, the black emergency medical technician who was shot and killed in her apartment by the Louisville Metro Police Department in March, sign the petition here.
RESEARCH WAYS OF VIRTUALLY PROTESTING
Instagram user and designer @sa.liine has suggested optimising social media posts by using hashtags that are most commonly used by white supremacists such as #BlueLine, #SheriffsOffice, #BuildTheWall, and #ServeAndProtect in order to share information effectively. “Black people do not need reminders that Black lives matter. Let’s target our posts towards the people that need to see and hear it,” she says. “Time to use the algorithm to our advantage.”
SUPPORT BLACK PLATFORMS
In a world that’s so heavily driven by white narratives, brands, and companies, it’s paramount to support those that elevate and champion Black voices. Now is the time to read POC-run platforms that are, more often than not, independently-run. Read and follow gal-dem, Irin Journal, For Working Ladies, Thy Self, and Black Girl Fest on social media. Organisations and individuals like Entry Level Activist, Check Your Priveledge, Black Visions, and The Great Unlearn are also invaluable sources of information and knowledge. Get on it.