An email to send, petition to sign, and hard convo to have.
Even if you follow the news as much as your mental health can handle, it can be hard to know what issues to focus on. This week, you might be solely focused on ways to create justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officers on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Take advantage of some of your screen time to demand accountability for the police shooting of Blake, and get involved with local anti-racist organizations if you’re able to contribute a little more to the movement. As protests continue across the country against racist state violence and police brutality, helping Black trans protesters can alleviate some of the dangers facing marginalized activists. Having a talk with your uncle about how focusing on "looting" when talking about protests is problematic might be unpleasant, but it’s also quite necessary. Below, you can find a petition to sign, an email to write, a conversation to have, and places to donate or volunteer if you want to make a difference.
You can’t do something about everything — but if you feel like you’re spiraling at the state of the world, you might feel better if you do one thing about something. Here are five actions you can take this week to support anti-racist movements across the country.
Kenosha District Attorney Michael D. Graveley’s office will be responsible for deciding to file charges against the police officer who shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times in the back, after the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) finishes their investigation. You can send a message to DA Graveley to demand justice for Blake, whose three children were inside his car when officers shot him. You might want to tell him to immediately fire and arrest the officers involved in the shooting, or you might want to call for broader changes to the policing institution — it’s your email, and your call.
If you’re looking for a pre-drafted call for an end to police violence, you can sign this Color of Change petition demanding justice for Jacob Blake. You can also text JAKE to 55156 or record a 30-second video about Justice for Jake so that Color of Change can use it on their social media accounts. Check out your action options, including the petition, here.
It might be just a word, but talking about looting at Black Lives Matter demonstrations is far from harmless. As Black Lives Matter protests have unfolded over the summer, many people choose to focus on destruction of property, rather than the destruction of lives that sparked the protests in the first place. NPR explains that words like looting and rioting have deeply racist histories: Laws written since the founding of the U.S. have protected private property from damage or theft in order to keep Black people enslaved, according to PBS. Since then, segregationists have used accusations of "looting" to paint largely peaceful protests as dangerous mobs, Vox explains. The same thing happens today.
It’s worth bringing this up when your uncle tries to invalidate protestors for not being "peaceful" on your weekly family Zoom. You might ask why he would call it "rioting" when Black people are protesting police brutality, but "celebrating" when sports fans set fire to their cars because their team won a game. Ultimately, focusing on "looting" distracts from the real issue at hand — the anger over structural racism and police killings of Black people across the country.
As protests continue, protecting demonstrators, especially those with marginalized identities is extremely important. The Black Trans Protesters Emergency Fund was created by a coalition of Black and brown trans-led organizations in New York City, and its goal is assisting Black trans protesters with bail, medical care, and other needed resources.You can donate here.
If you’re not already familiar with your local organizations that actively commit to anti-racist initiatives, ask around and do some research. Your area might have a few excellent immigration advocacy organizations, or there might be some groups advocating against mass incarceration and police brutality. Find out who’s been organizing Black Lives Matter protests in your town or city, and see what kind of advocacy your local LGBTQ center is doing. See how you can get involved with these local movements, whether they need protest medics, supplies, or administrative help you can offer at home.
Additional reporting by Leila Barghouty.
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