How You Can Help End Police Brutality Today

How You Can Help End Police Brutality Today

How You Can Help End Police Brutality Today

Ways to support the black community in their struggle for justice.

Ways to support the black community in their struggle for justice.

Text: Valerie Stepanova

It's been a tough few months for all people of color. What started off with the murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky back in March continued on with a chilling story of Ahmaud Arbery who was gunned down while jogging through a Georgia neighborhood. When the urgency of the current state of systematic racism has manifested with the gruesome murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police officers, the anger and frustrations have boiled over — fed up, frustrated and reluctant to wait any longer, the people of all ages, genders and skin colors came out on the streets to support the black community in their struggle for justice.

These impassioned protests have been seen across the country and beyond — from Minneapolis to Montreal to London to New York City — as people fight to end systematic racism and police brutality across the country. With the global coronavirus pandemic still raging in some parts of the country and the world, the people are risking their health to support a danger that is evidently much more immediate: police brutality and racial injustice. Given the fact that communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, it comes as no surprise.

In addition to protesting the cause, there are a few more ways you can help incite change and get the message across. Check out a few additional tips and resources have rounded up for you below:

Demand police accountability from your legislators, wherever you are.

Whether your local government will implement measures to end police brutality or not is a clear-cut indicator of whether it’s worthy of your political support. Check out Campaign Zero for a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing and other practices that bring forth systematic racism. Get familiar with the current regulations in your state and reach out to your representatives at the local, state and national levels. Pressing them on their plans for ending discrimination in law enforcement is one of the most surefire ways to get the message across. They’re also accepting donations, so make sure to support the organizations that aim to end police violence in America if you have the opportunity to do so.

To support accountability in the Minneapolis Police Department specifically, you can sign this petition by Reclaim the Block — a Minneapolis organization devoted to reallocated the city’s money away from the police department and toward “community-led safety initiatives.” The petition asks the Minneapolis city council to defund the police force, freeing up resources to promote the safety and health of the city's marginalized communities.

Support black-owned businesses.

Continue the #BlackLivesMatter conversation by shopping from businesses owned by people of color. From fashion and beauty space to home and food, there is an endless number of ways to spend your money with purpose. Save the following resources and refer back to them in the coming month because meaningful and long-term change can only be created over time:

Donate.

In addition to donating to George Floyd's family, the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the Black Lives Matter movement, you can also contribute to the following organizations and initiatives that fight for racial justice and civil rights for all:

  • The Bail Project, a nonprofit that seeks to combat racial and economic disparities in the bail system
  • The National Bail Fund Network is a directory of community bail funds to which you can donate; you can also make a donation to the COVID-19 rapid response fund on their site

  • Black Visions Collective — a black, trans and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul that aims to shape healing and transformative social justice principles for Black people across Minnesota
  • Communities United Against Police Brutality is currently operating a crisis hotline where people can report abuse, along with offering legal, medical, and psychological resource referrals and engaging in political action against police brutality
  • Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities, has set up a legal fund to support Minneapolis protestors
  • NYC's The Okra Project is raising money to support the physical and mental well-being of Black Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community

  • The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund secures the freedom on New Yorkers who would otherwise be detained pretrial due to their poverty alone and challenges the criminalization of race, poverty and immigration status
  • The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a premier legal organization fighting for racial justice
  • ACLU is raising funds to protect voting rights, demand that vulnerable people in prisons, jails and immigration detention centers be released and fight to ensure reproductive health care remains open and accessible to all who need it
  • Gas Mask Fund is raising money to buy gas masks for demonstrators who faced tear gas during protests

  • Atlanta Solidarity Fund raises bail and bond money for protestors in Atlanta
  • Free Them All for Public Health is now raising money for people who have been arrested during New York City protests over the weekend. The initiative generally aims to free incarcerated people amid the coronavirus pandemic, so whatever doesn't go toward local bail will be sent to other cities and COVID Bailout NYC

  • No New Jails NYC fights to keep the city from constructing new jails and divert funds that currently go towards the police and incarceration towards housing, ending homelessness, mental health and other community support systems
  • Fair Fight is an organization founded by Democratic politician Stacey Abrams to end voter suppression and equalize voting rights and access to create a more fair election system
  • Northstar Health Collective is a St.Paul-based organization that provides health services and support at protests
  • The Liberty Fund is a charitable fund that aims to reduce the number of New Yorkers subjected to unnecessary pretrial detention

Help protestors and affected communities in your area.

If the protests are happening in your area, offer the participants water, food and stoops to sit on as the demonstrations continue on for hours and hours at a time. If you have the means and opportunity to do so, pick up some extra bottles of water, food, masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies ahead of protests in your area. Even if you don't feel like you can safely join the march yourself, this small gesture is one of the ways you can still support the cause.

Alternatively, you can pick up extra groceries and household essentials next time you make a trip to the supermarket. Things like detergent, diapers, cleaning products, first-aid and personal protective equipment will be of great use in any of the local donation points in your area. Case in point: as Minneapolis public health transit has closed and many stores have been damaged, many food pantries are in need of donations. Hunger Solutions offer a list on donation points; Minneapolis' Pimento Jamaican Kitchen is in need of supplies and volunteers; local food banks are in need of help from their local community more so than ever. Look into what's available in your area, or consider volunteering to drop off supplies for people in need if you have a car.

Help clean up the streets after the protests.

Another thing you can do to help is support black-owned businesses that have been damaged in the midst of active protesting. Minneapolis started their community clean-up events this past weekend, The Free Hugs Project launched their rebuilding efforts and Support the Cities is now providing information on Lake Street clean-up initiatives and grocery drop-offs. Learn how you get involved locally — grab a shovel or broom, trash bags, gloves, water and whatever other supplies you can contribute.

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