Here is a BASIC list of direct actions you can take to use your privilege. This list was made for the sole purpose of keeping newcomers and “well-intentioned” white folks out of Black people’s DMs and comments asking about what to do next. It is NOT a substitute for doing the work. It is very important you use this only as a jumping-off point and direct your energy and attention to the voices of Black communities, leaders, activists and writers and see what they are calling you to do. Please don’t share this list itself (obviously sending it to a friend is fine) — share the actual people, books, foundations and organizations mentioned.
FOLLOW, UPLIFT & LISTEN TO BLACK FOLKS: Follow the authors, poets, activists, intellectuals, educators, speakers and more who have been fighting these issues for literally ever. Purchase and read their books (here’s a link for a list; don’t forget to purchase them from Black-owned bookstores), watch their videos, give them money and amplify their message. Here’s a few folks you can follow on social media if you’re active there, but remember that you’re going to be quiet, listen and learn, and that you’re not to make noise, cause harm or demand labor. And don’t forget to PAY them!
for the Great Unlearn, racial justice research documents and templates for holding employers, businesses and more accountable
for Me and White Supremacy, the Good Ancestor Podcast and discussions on spiritual by-passing within the wellness community
for calls to action, petitions to sign and up-to-date information on the movement against racism
for the Me Too Movement and advocation for issues faced predominantly by women of color, like sexual harassment in the workplace
for How To Be An Anti-Racist, The Antiracist Research & Policy Center, and articles in The Atlantic
for a bi-monthly newsletter, spiritual activism courses and anti-racism resources
for campaigns and mobilization to create Black-led communities
for direct actions, campaigns against injustice and updates on the fight against racism
for fiction and essays on intersectional feminism and body acceptance
DONATE TO ORGS LED BY THE BLACK COMMUNITY: Put your money where your black square is and do research on the community-led organiziations in your own community: Black Lives Matter | Black Visions Collective | Reclaim the Block | The Loveland Foundation | Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation | Justice for Breonna Taylor | George Floyd Fund | People’s Paper Co-Op | National Bail Out Fund
EXAMINE YOUR OWN RACISM: The rest is just performative if you don’t do this part. if you’re white, you’re racist. The white supremacy is in the air we breathe. I’m racist, you’re racist, we must work to be actively anti-racist, as Angela Davis said. We are not working for “equality.” We’re working for complete dismantling of the structures in place that oppress some people to uplift others (that’s us.) Here’s some books and programs to learn about these structures and how to fight them: Me & White Supremacy | The Great Unlearn | How To Be Anti-Racist | When They Call You A Terrorist | Anti-Racism Resources from Rachel Ricketts | Spiritual Activism Courses from Rachel Ricketts
CALL YOUR RACIST FAMILY MEMBERS: Now change the people around you. Posting on social media won’t make a difference if you haven’t told Mom that Black lives matter more than a looted TJMaxx. Make people change their minds and refuse to agree to disagree. Here’s some facts and statistics to back it up: How to Talk to Your Family About Racism on Thanksgiving by Rachel Cargle | Public Address on the Revolution by Rachel Cargle | The American Nightmare by Ibram X. Kendi | The Antiracist Research & Policy Center | Mapping Police Violence | Debunking “Black on Black” Crime
SIGN PETITIONS: there’s a number of them going around demanding change; Black Lives Matter currently has one asking for an end to police brutality, defunding of police and creating transformational change. Check Black Lives Matter chapters and grassroots community orgs in your area and sign their locally-focused petitions. It takes 30 seconds to sign a petition and though it needs to be coupled with direct action, they can make a big difference. Tell your friends and family to sign, too.
CONTACT YOUR STATE & NATL REPS: Resist Bot can help you send letters even if you’re bad at writing and don’t know who your reps are. For issues of police brutality, text YWNDTO to 50409. Don’t forget to visit usa.gov/elected-officials to find out who all your reps are, then follow them on social media and see what issues they communicate to their audience. Keep them accountable on speaking out on issues that impact Black Americans and bring down swift judgment if they, say, admonish the protests in cities they weren’t even elected to talk about, call Black Lives Matter a “terrorist” group and use dogwhistles like “law and order.” (Looking at you, Joe Gale. Sign the petition for his removal here.) Tell your friends and family to contact their reps, too.
CONTACT OFFICIALS: Your local people are calling a lot of shots right now, so don’t forget to let them know what you think, too. Is your local PD required to wear body cams? Is your local PD’s budget like, the entire fucking city budget for the year, like Philly’s? Find out and tell your officials to stop the militarization and massive funding of police when schools, arts, community orgs are bleeding funding. Demand accountability. Tell your mayor to back the fuck off of the protestors out there demanding change.
DEMAND DIVESTMENT: Contact companies, universities and organizations and demand they end contracts and divest from police departments.
SHOP BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES: There’s a number of lists going around, so definitely check social media accounts from your favorite industries. Here’s the biggest round-up I could find. Just remember to look for off-Etsy shop links, as the platform is taking more and more from the small businesses they host.
HIT THE STREETS: Join local protests if and ONLY if you are 1) prepared to protect Black lives with your own body and/or 2) offer emergency medical attention. If you’re going for the gram, fuck off. If you want to help but are new to protests, please join up with friends more experienced and do research beforehand. Here’s a breakdown from Amnesty International. A lot of information on protests is shared via Facebook. Make sure to only attend protests with a clear list of demands that is created by a real community organization and co-signed by other groups, and that has jail support and a bail fund in place.
UNDERSTAND THE WORK IS NEVER DONE: You and I don’t get to sign a few petitions, make a social media post, email our mayor and call it a day. Keep working every day. Keep re-examining yourself and doing the inner work, calling out and changing people around you in your family and communities, or the rest of it is just performative. There is no end-point, only improvement.
Mistakes made here? Call me out — shoot me a message at @blackcatclothiers on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.