Ways to Help #BlackLivesMatter and Yourself, Before and After Tragedy

In the wake of last week’s tragedies in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and Dallas, people all across America are confused and upset, unsure of how they personally can play a part in healing the racial disparities which continue to divide our country. But as we were reminded by President Obama’s speech in Dallas yesterday, there is much that can be done. Peaceful protestors, the families of those that have been lost and mindful officers like Dallas Police Chief David Brown provide a model for us all. Indeed, the unity our country seeks can be found not by building walls and closing borders, but by building bridges and opening our minds. We wanted to share with you some tangible things that you can do to advance the #BlackLivesMatter movement peacefully but substantively, whether you’re POC or not. Below, please find some articles, events, organizations and more. Educating yourself is the first step. Listen to your POC peers. Ask questions. Meet people with different ideas and backgrounds, talk to them. Ignorance is no cause for shame, but making no effort in times of injustice is.

We will be updating this post periodically as we become aware of new events, groups and articles worth sharing. Please help us by sending any resources you’ve found helpful to democrats.club@nyu.edu. We are all still learning.

Required Reading:

  1. Letter to My Son by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  2. What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About the Police by Jazmine Hughes
  3. Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stopped Mattering by Roxane Gay
  4. Data, data, and more data from the Black Lives Matter movement
  5. Concrete proposals from the Black Lives Matter movement
  6. How Bobby Kennedy went from ignorant on race to trusted ally by Larry Tye
  7. The Atlantic has put together an excellent list of articles, books, poetry, personal reflections and more to help you educate yourself.

Events, Demonstration & Protests

  1. Protests near you from Ferguson Response
  2. Know your rights at protests from the ACLU

Organizations & Leaders:

  1. Black Lives Matter | Leadership
  2. Color of Change  | Leadership
  3. Million Hoodies Movement for Justice | Leadership
  4. NAACP Legal & Defense Fund | Leadership
  5. Campaign ZERO | Leadership

Action Items for Allies:

These are initial steps that all allies can take. We can never bring back those we have lost to excessive and improper force, but there are tangible things we can do to keep another life from becoming a hashtag.

  1. Have difficult conversations with those around you who may not fully understand what the movement is about. Whether it is a friend stating that #AllLivesMatter, an uncle that makes a “harmless” racist joke, or if you grew up in a minority community in which anti-blackness exists, push back and engage in discourse.
  2. Continuously check your privilege. Be willing to listen. There will be times you may slip up even when you have the best intentions.
  3. Show up. Attend a protest or rally and if you aren’t able to do that, then donate instead. This could come in the form of money, protest supplies, food, water or talent. Join your local #BlackLivesMatter chapter.
  4. Be a witness. Download the ALCU’s mobile justice app or other similar apps and be prepared to record a police interaction if you find yourself witnessing an encounter. Know your rights when it comes to recording the police. It may be illegal to interfere, but remain present and be a witness.
  5. Of course, be aware of the policies your local political candidates or elected leaders support. Whether it be regarding policing policies or laws that disproportionately target marginalized communities, educate yourself on them and ensure that you don’t continue to support candidates or policies that perpetuate the use of excessive force, racial profiling, etc.  

Resources for People of Color:

The onslaught of news about violence against people of color often feels endless. With the highly publicized killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, it became impossible to escape the coverage of these tragedies.

In the words of Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." While you continue the fight, remember that self-care is not just a term to throw around. Ensuring that your mental health is taken care of is a top priority.

From identifying friends and family that can act as a support group to unplugging from social media, allow yourself to disengage from the triggering images and rhetoric.

Articles on Self-Care:

  1. Self-Care for People of Color after Psychological Trauma
  2. How to Take of Yourself While Learning About Oppression
  3. 11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care

With Love and in Solidarity,

The NYU College Democrats

Michael DeLuca