On Monday 25 May, a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd died from asphyxiation in a barbarous attack which was captured by onlookers and posted online, leading to the charging of one police officer with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
In light of these events, protests have erupted around the world demanding justice for Floyd’s murder. Those unable to protest due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have turned to social media, sharing millions of posts onantiracism, advice for protesters, learning resources and places to donate.
They’re not only marching for Floyd, either – his death was closely followed by the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery and 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, shot in separate incidents and a black transgender man, Tony McDade, was also fatally shot by police on Wednesday, May 27.
Elsewhere, there’s a tendency to, while protesting these horrific events in the US, imagine them as symbolic of America’s ongoing issues and alternate political climate. While both the UK and the US have their own unique history of anti-black racism, the UK is not innocent of this kind of racist violence. The list of black people killed in police custody in this country is not short of names – Rashan Charles, Mark Duggan and Daniel Adewole are just three we should all be familiar with. And that’s not including the black people who have lost their lives in racially motivated attacks, such as Stephen Lawrence. Our country has repeatedly shown a lack of regard for black lives – and it’s about time we acknowledged this uncomfortable fact and did something about it.
Today, Black Lives Matter and other activist groups have organised a social media blackout under the hashtag #BlackOutTuesday, silencing personal posts across Instagram and Twitter and flooding newsfeeds with information to raise awareness and political support. Below, we have compiled a list of resources to read, listen, watch, sign, sign up to and share, today, and to absorb and practice every day moving forward.
To contact your local representative in the US, click here.
To contact your local representative in the UK, click here.
Email your boss and ask them to take real action on the lack of diverse representation internally as a company, director duo Pip + Lib have made a template here.
For starters, the best way any individual can get involved is to become politically active – that means registering to vote, doing your research during election time, canvassing for candidates that believe in social reform and continuing to back those candidates through primaries and local elections. Yes, this can also include signing and sharing petitions, and Black Lives Matters has an extensive list of petition links available here. But systemic change can only take place if the legislation changes being petitioned for are carried through the entire lengthy lawmaking process, and this will not happen without black politicians and genuine allies in positions of power.
Still Processing, a New York Times culture podcast with Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morrison
Code Switch, an NPR podcast tackling race from all angles
Hear To Slay, “the black feminist podcast of your dreams,” with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom
Support charities in the US
Unicorn Riot is dedicated to covering social and environmental issues through its independent platform, funded by grants and donations. Unicorn Riot’s frontline journalists have been reporting daily on protests in the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
National Bail Fund Network‘s directory is a comprehensive list of community bail funds across the US’ 50 states. Created by the Community Justice Exchange, the network is a valuable resource as protests throughout the country will likely mean an increase in arrests.
Color of Change: The US’ largest online racial justice organisation, Color of Change, campaigns for an end to the injustices faced by black people in America, spanning criminal justice, workplace justice, politics, voting freedom and democracy, economic justice and more.
The George Floyd Memorial Fund was set up by Floyd’s sister Philonise in the wake of his death. As Floyd’s family seek justice for his death, a separate petition has been signed by over 10 million people which calls for the officers involved to face criminal charges.
Reclaim the Blockcampaigns for a safer Minneapolis by organising for violence prevention, housing, resources for youth, emergency mental health response teams, and solutions to the opioid crisis to be funded over the police. The organisation also spearheads community initiatives that aim to reduce the reliance on the police across the city.
Campaign Zero’s mission is to end police violence in the US, and outlines actions that local, state and federal officials can take in order to enact change at policy levels. The organisation tracks progress in legislation across cities and states, and encourages people to educate themselves on how their local representatives have acted to end police violence, and to demand action.
Black Visions Collective: Minnesota-based Black Visions Collective is a black-, trans- and queer-led organisation which campaigns for longterm change in the state’s justice and political systems, by empowering black people on local levels. In the wake of Floyd’s death, the organisation is campaigning forthe defunding of the police.
*And follow their suggestions. It is not acceptable to post images like these on social media and not follow up with more productive avenues of activism. Virtual protesting should not take the place of in-person protesting once the pandemic quarantine is over, and participating in protests should still be done in conjunction with political activity such as registering, researching and voting.