As we make our way through Black History Month, you may find yourself wondering what you can do to help. While it’s always good to make big gestures like marching at protests, there are many smaller actions you can take to support the cause and become more conscious in the process.
Please note: I’m not saying “you should only be an activist in ways that are easy” — rather, I’m trying to highlight steps you can take to become a better activist, particularly for people who haven’t thought much about Black Lives Matter before now. These are bare minimum steps to take, and going above and beyond in them is a goal we should strive to achieve.
Donate to Black Fundraisers
If you’ve spent a lot of time on websites like Twitter or Tumblr, you may have seen a number of GoFundMes posted by people in need. A GoFundMe is a website where anyone may donate money for whatever cause. Many of the ones I’ve seen are posted by people needing to pay for rent or medical expenses. If you’ve got the extra funds and want to do something with them, donating to a person of color is a good thing to do. You can also donate to causes like The Bail Project, which allows people to donate money for incarcerated people who cannot pay their own bail.
Seek Out More Black-Made Works
There are tons of Black artists, authors, musicians and business owners across the country who don’t receive as much attention as their white counterparts. Take time to make sure your bookshelf has at least a few books by a Black author or your favorite playlist has at least a few songs by a Black musician. If you have a product you like to buy off a big corporate site like Amazon, see if there’s a Black-owned business that sells a similar product. Surround yourself with media that comes from voices and experiences outside of your own, rather than just watching another season of “Friends.”
Challenge Your Own Biases and Prejudices
This step can be a bit tricker, but is a must. How do you see the people around you? Are those perceptions dependent on skin color? When you watch a television show, are you more likely to be drawn to a character of a particular race? Do your friends all look like you?
I’m not saying you should surround yourself with Black characters and friends solely for the purpose of becoming more race-conscious or “woke.” Don’t go running out to make a single token Black friend just because your friend group is all white. But if there’s an unconscious bias you’ve been holding and you discover it, work on that. If you’ve been avoiding race-centric politics, work on reading more diverse news stories, and educate yourself on all the injustice you’ve been ignoring. Learn to recognize injustice and microaggressions, so that you can stand up to them when you see them happen.
Again, all of these actions are bare minimum, but they’re still valuable. They’re certainly better than nothing. Let these be a stepping stone for further activism, rather than the only thing you ever do.
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