Six Ways to Continue to Give Back to the Black Lives Matter Movement
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
If you are feeling at a loss and looking for ways to continue supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, there are several organizations in need of your support.
In light of recent police violence against Black Americans, activism and support have become more critical. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, and more have compelled many to affirm that Black lives matter. Whether one chooses to engage in protests, spread the word on social media, or donate to important causes, there are countless ways to get involved
Here are six organizations to support Black lives, plus some tips to help out from National Lawyers Guild board member Colleen Flynn.
Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement arose in 2013, responding to Trayvon Martin’s murder and the lack of justice that followed. It aims to eliminate white supremacy and its effects while uplifting and protecting Black communities. Its mission involves resisting systemic inequality, reducing violence against Black people, and creating an inclusive movement for queer, disabled, or otherwise marginalized people.
BLM operates from 16 chapters across the United States and Canada. It organizes many projects to supports its cause, and it also provides Toolkits for effective activism. BLM’s Healing Action Toolkit, made by the Black Lives Matter Healing Justice Working Group, provides pertinent information about mental and physical health. It offers care tips for communities and individuals before, during, and after protests or other political actions.
The ongoing #WhatMatters2020 movement promotes voting for BLM supporters in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Its three main goals are to engage Black voters, educate all voters about candidates and relevant issues, and promote voter registration.
The BLM movement makes a broad-reaching impact, and anyone can support it in a variety of ways. Since BLM has mainly spread over social media, supporters can follow #blacklivesmatter or @Blklivesmatter on Twitter and Instagram. Signing up to BLM’s newsletter helps spread the organization’s mission, and donating supports it directly.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)
Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, founded LDF in 1940. Since then, it has fought for racial justice in the court of law. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case helped to overturn “separate but equal” educational doctrine. In the 1971 Griggs v. Duke Power Company case, it made a significant step toward employment equality. The LDF has worked on dozens of other vital cases and campaigns, and it continues to do so eighty years after its foundation.
The LDF runs several scholarship programs for African American students at the undergraduate and law school level. It releases journalistic articles and toolkits on issues related to its mission.
Sherrilyn Ifill, the current LDF President, and Director-Counsel have long worked as a lawyer, legal educator, and author. She has litigated many voting rights cases and authored On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century.
Black Women’s Blueprint
Black Women’s Blueprint is a Black feminist organization based in New York City. It resists “neo-colonial white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” as described by critical feminist writer bell hooks. It aims to create inclusive spaces and mitigate the struggles of Black women. BWB runs many projects and sub-organizations, including the Museum of Women’s Resistance (MoWRe) in Brooklyn, NYC, and the Ghana House for reproductive health in Northern Ghana.
BWB began as a group of localized circles in 2008. It created discussion spaces around the Democratic Primaries, which featured a woman candidate in Hillary Clinton and a Black one in Barack Obama. From these discussions, participants realized the necessity of a focused space for Black women in particular in the spheres of political and social justice.
Four strategies govern BWB’s work: Human Rights Advocacy, Transformative Justice, Critical Participatory Action Research, and Cultural Preservation of Indigenous Knowledge. BWB emphasizes supporting survivors of sexual violence, fighting all forms of discrimination, and using personal experiences and storytelling to inform community solutions.
Supporters can donate to BWB monthly on several levels. They can also become advisory members at BWB, which provides membership benefits such as MoWRe event access and complimentary admission to BWB archives and library.
Color of Change
Activist group Color of Change operates online. It spreads awareness and launches far-reaching campaigns for racial justice through its extensive social media platform. Color of Change includes 1.7 million members, and its campaign petitions have racked up millions of signatures.
Color of Change focuses its work on six areas: Criminal Justice, Culture Change, Voting Freedom, Tech Justice, Right Wing Politics and White Nationalists, and Economic Justice. It targets issues that endanger or limit Black people, including media representation, employment prejudice, and unjust incarceration.
Supporters can contribute to Color of Change by donating, joining the organization for updates, or following Color of Change on Facebook. They can also sign the Color of Change’s current petitions. One supports free communication between incarcerated individuals and their families. Another calls for the firing of officers who killed Breonna Taylor, and a broader one promotes community-based police reform.
The Audre Lorde Project
The Audre Lorde Project is a Community Organizing Center of people of color who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans, or Gender Non-Conforming. Based in New York City, ALP promotes social and economic justice through an inclusive, multi-racial, and anti-sexist framework.
In 1994, Advocates for Gay Men of Color founded ALP to solve community problems with informed, inclusive strategies. They named their organization in honor of renowned poet and feminist Audre Lorde, who advocated for Black activism and feminine self-expression throughout her career. ALP moved into its current location in 1996, and it has continued to operate through the present day.
ALP’s projects include TransJustice, a trans and GNC activism group, and 3rd Space, which provides resources for education, healthcare, career development, and more. Safe OUTside the System: The SOS Collective combats various forms of discrimination and police violence.
How to Help from Colleen Flynn
Colleen Flynn, former Executive Director and current board member of the National Lawyers Guild in LA, encourages active engagement. She offers tips for supporting Black lives beyond upholding BLM and related organizations.
Flynn’s organization, the NLG, has worked since 1937 to support racial justice and marginalized groups. As the nation’s oldest bar association focused on progressive and intersectional issues, the NLG seeks to emphasize human rights over property rights on a national legal scale.
Flynn says, “I think people need to get more involved in their local politics and find out how things work and how things are allocated.” She suggests that supporters bring the BLM cause into their daily lives, creating an anti-racist culture among families, friends, and co-workers. She recommends starting discussions, calling out racist jokes, and fostering anti-racist social circles. She notes that progressive organizations in smaller communities receive less support, so it’s important to research and help local groups.
Flynn also encourages seeking knowledge on complex issues, such as defunding the police. She says, “They can educate themselves about how much of their local city and county budgets are spent on law enforcement versus other services that would actually address the problems in our society that we have relegated completely to the police.”
Now, the NLG LA represents protestors whom the LAPD has arrested. They’ve worked to lift criminal charges from the majority of protesters and advocate for others. Volunteer attorneys have helped the NLG in court, but anyone can help out from home by donating to the NLG or donating to their Mass Defense (Protest Support) Fund. They can also stay informed through NLG news and recorded public webinars.
Written by Olivia Cipperman