Further London protests — in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter protests across the US — are planned for 3 June (Hyde Park from 1pm), 6 June (Parliament Square from 1pm), and 7 June (US Embassy, Nine Elms from 2pm). Further protests will be taking place on 20 June (at Vauxhall and Hyde Park from 1pm).
Though these protests are for a vital cause, attending may not be the safest way for you to take action right now, due to coronavirus. If you've made up your mind to go, have your health and also your rights in mind: wear masks, use sanitiser, and take all possible precautions to minimise your risk of catching or spreading infection.
But when you can't physically show up, remember: you can still show up. Below are some suggestions for ways to show your support in other ways.
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Sign, share, and be vocal online
There's a list of petitions here as a starting place — making a nuisance of yourself to elected representatives is a straightforward but crucial step to take, and you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to *your* elected representatives.
Nothing says 'I have an infinite capacity to hassle you' like regular emails, calls and messages across any platforms you're active on. Where possible make your contact effective and targeted, with explicit demands and clear details: if you're demanding action be taken against police officers, include their badge numbers; if you're demanding defunding, cite figures and where you expect those funds to be re-invested.
Jump to the Donate section of this doc for plenty of links to bail funds, social justice organisations and trauma therapy funds, among others.
You can also find a directory of over 60 community bail funds based in the US, gathered together by the National Bail Fund Network, here.
Among UK-based anti-racist organisations, some suggestions for support include:
Southhall Black Sisters — challenging domestic and gender-related violence, with a particular focus on supporting Black and minority-group women.
Stop Hate UK — tackling hate crime and discrimination, and create reporting channels for those who don't wish to go via the police.
Black Cultural Archives — Brixton-based, this is the only national heritage centre focused on preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. Their work includes exhibitions, public engagement events and educational outreach.
These are, obviously, a tiny fraction of the people and groups working to effect meaningful change. Double check the source/organisation you're planning to donate to if it's a fund you've just spotted on social: we've heard reports of a number of fake crowdfunders in circulation. If you've found an organisation you want to support but are finding it difficult to check their legitimacy, Lifehacker have some simple steps you can take here.
If you don't have a US bank account, you're probably going to struggle making any donations where the recipient only accepts Venmo transfer: we haven't found a way around this yet, but let us know if you do (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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As a consumer
Support Black-owned businesses: there's a good list for starters here (or consider starting a list for your own neighbourhood on social). Support looks like spending, but also like spreading the word.
Boycott businesses cashing in on devastation by using it as a PR or financial opportunity: if you see #BlackLivesMatter merch for sale, check if 100% of the revenue's going to the community it's claiming to support; if not, question it, call it out, boycott. If you're spotting some — suddenly very loud — anti-racist statements on social media, from brands with a weak sauce track record in their behaviour towards POC and the Black community in particular, question it, find out if any real action underpins the chat, and boycott if it turns out to be lip service.
Resist the impulse to stream, download or generally consume content which books #BlackLivesMatter activists and spokespeople to speak in a debate format, on subjects where there's zero grounds for debate — we're thinking of those spurious 'Is racism really still an issue though' approaches. On paper the idea of public discussion can feel like progress; in practice treating the existence of systemic racism and the damage done by it like it's still a giant unproved question mark just feeds into a toxic line of rhetoric (and affords airspace to some palpably terrible people with palpably terrible things to say).
Read, listen, stream, share, and educate yourself on practical allyship
This document compiled by Miriam Bennun and Gabby Menezes-Forsyth is an incredibly helpful and generous list of materials and resources — books, academic articles, podcasts, films, and accounts to follow: Black Lives Matter.
Described as 'a collaborative learning resource on matters of race, privilege and combating white supremacy', it includes texts around anti-racist work and tackling white supremacy, alongside work by storytellers, novelists, comedians and creators writing on Black British and post-colonial themes.
Make any book purchases via a Black-owned bookstore rather than Amazon (with the added bonus that independent booksellers typically give a far higher percentage of sale price to authors). For Londoners options include New Beacon Books in Finsbury Park, specialists in African and Caribbean literature — closed during lockdown but taking online orders — and bookseller-publisher Jacaranda Books.
Check Your Privilege run a series of Summer Skool sessions on IGTV, educating on anti-racist work, how to build an anti-racist mindset, and activism. Join live or head to their IGTV for previous sessions; free to access but — as with all similar resources — wherever you can afford to, consider donating to both the host channel and the individual educators/creators.
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Follow #realizedIwasBlack to learn from the lived experience of individuals, or share your own.
And for UK-specific resources and reading: the Runnymede Trust's an independent race equality think tank with a wealth of teaching resources, actions, intersectional research and toolkits.