Anti-Racism Resources: 10 Ways to Take Action as an Ally for Black Lives
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
We are all complicit. America’s system of institutionalized racism has left no one untouched. We all hold internal biases, which feed into this oppressive system. Of course, it is incredibly important to take action now, but what truly matters is continuous action even when no one is watching or when the spotlight is not shining on this issue. It should not have to take the brutal murdering of more Black people to encourage us to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement and participate in anti-racism work. Follow some of these steps or others to continuously take action and fight for justice for Black lives! Because George Floyd's life mattered! Breonna Taylor's life mattered! Tony McDade's life mattered! All Black Lives Matter!
This resource list is a joint effort and is open to corrections and additions to ensure that it can be as impactful and helpful as possible. Please make your suggestion here.
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Learn about racism, anti-racism, police brutality, Black culture and experience, white privilege, Black activism and activists, hate crimes, and American history through articles, books, podcasts, music, videos, artwork, and more. Being informed is the first step towards taking action.
Check out this anti-racism resource list by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein and this resource list by I'm not Racist...Am I? for great literature, podcast, video, film, and article recommendations.
We tried to ensure that our list did not overlap with these resource lists above, so check out the aforementioned lists for important recommendations we did not include.
Code Switch by NPR
Radical Imagination by Angela Glover Blackwell
Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man by More Perfect
In Black America by NPR
“Police Shootings Database” by The Washington Post
“Hate Crimes in the United States” by Erin Duffin, Statista
"Fighting Police Abuse Community Action Manual" by the ACLU
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
“50 Artists Interrogate 25 Years of Police Brutality” by Antwaun Sargent, Vice
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Fredrick Douglass
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Artworks (Online art galleries/articles):
Art by Yung Yemi, Douglas Hale, Gelila Mesfin, and Tim Okamura
“Cities Across the US Are Painting Massive Black Lives Matter Slogans on Their Streets, Following in the Footsteps of Washington, DC”
Check out some amazing Black Lives Matter playlists by Black artists online and on Spotify
Check out the song "I Can't Breathe" by H.E.R!
Conversations and discussions are a great way to identify and challenge our prejudices and blind spots while getting informed and building respect and empathy with others.
Have conversations with people of the Black community and LISTEN
Have discussions with your friends, family, teachers, and more and keep the conversation going
Respectfully educate others
Lean into discomfort, meaning participate in discussions that might challenge your beliefs and internal biases
Many schools and organizations are having discussions on current events and topics related to Black lives matter and police brutality
Ensure that the Black people who were killed by police brutality and hate crimes are not forgotten
It is also crucial to look inward and take the time to think, removing and identifying our prejudices, misconceptions, and blind spots.
Some questions to reflect upon:
If all lives matter, why highlight and focus on Black lives?
Why is the Black Lives Matter movement important?
Why is it important for me to seek education and take action if I am not Black?
What does it mean to be an ally?
How do you contribute to the problem?
How do you define racism?
Definition of Racism: “‘A system of social structures that provide or deny access, safety, resources, and power based on specious (exterior/fake made as true) categories of ‘race’ and produce and reproduce inequalities. This system provides power to people in the dominant group who are seen as ‘white’ and deny people power to those in the non-dominant groups, who are not seen as ‘not white.’” If this is one definition of racism, can people of color be racist? Are people of color complicit, and how?
Do you feel uncomfortable talking about police brutality and hate crimes? Why?
Am I doing enough?
What does your silence and inaction mean?
How do people, like policemen, end up murdering innocent Black individuals? What happens to empathy and humanity in these situations?
Am I a bystander?
Why should we continue to take action?
How can I learn and honor the memories of the Black people who were killed?
What more do I have to learn?
4. RAISE YOUR VOICE
Talk about and advocate for justice for Black lives and against racism in any platform you possess (it does not matter how big your platform is) and to the people around you.
Speak up on social media
Advocate through ART
Correct and point out any forms of racism, bigotry, and prejudice
Create platforms for advocacy, like clubs, organizations, and campaigns
Participate in the solidarity movements, such as Black Out Tuesday
Amplify Black voices
Protests are a great way to advocate and raise your voice! “At least 3,099 Black Lives Matter protests and other demonstrations have been held in the past 2,145 days”(Elephrame). Check out this list to find protests nearby and this resource toolkit by Generation Ratify for steps a non-Black ally should follow during protest. Please stay safe, read “What to Know Before Heading to a Protest” for some tips to keep in mind while protesting, and maintain COVID-19 etiquette!
6. SIGN PETITIONS
Demand change through petitions!
#JusticeforFloyd: Sign Color of Change’s petition or text “FLOYD” to 55156 to charge the officers who killed George Floyd with murder.
Justice for Floyd: Show your support for getting justice for George Floyd and his family.
Black Lives Matter: #DefundThePolice: To “call for radical, sustainable solutions that affirms the prosperity of Black lives throughout America”(Black Lives Matter).
#WeCantBreathe: To demand justice for George Floyd and his family
Stand with Breonna: To bring forth charges to the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder
Justice for Tony McDade: Sign to demand justice for George Floyd and his family
I Run with Maud!: To seek justice for Ahmaud Arbery
Peace Act: “To tell congress to restrict the use of deadly force by the police”(Amnesty International).
7. SUPPORT AND GET INVOLVED IN ORGANIZATIONS
Follow, support, and get involved, such as becoming a member/volunteer or starting a chapter, with organizations, which promote and create racial equity and justice.
“28 Organizations That Empower Black Communities” by The Huffington Post
Make calls and email the police department, governor, and attorney general in Minnesota, Kentucky, and Florida to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Check out this resource list by students and organizations at Harvard University for contact information and scripts.
Contact your local policymakers and congresspeople to encourage them to propose more anti-racist policies, like bills that require the police department to participate in racial equity training and justice reform bills. Check out this resource toolkit by Generation Ratify for bills/legislation your local policymakers and congresspeople should sign and support!
Contact your police department to express your concerns with racial equity in the department, advocate for police accountability, and implement civilian review boards.
Check out "Promoting accountability” for policy proposals that hold the police accountable!
9. DONATE & FUNDRAISE
Financially support anti-racist organizations and donate to victim funds (check out this list of victim funds) and bail funds for arrested protesters and activists ("Black Lives Matter: 16 Organizations That Are Bailing Out Protestors" and Bail Funds for cities across the country)!
10. SUPPORT BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES
Support Black communities by supporting Black-owned businesses, which are especially in danger due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out this list of tips on how to support and help black-owned small businesses by Sarah Davis from Finimpact!
Check out this list of Black-owned bookstores around the country! The list is from LIBRO.FM by Claire Handscombe.
Check out this list of 49 Black-owned bookstores, where you can shop online from! The list is from Conde Nast Traveler by Madison Flager.
Check out this list of Black-owned restaurants in Los Angeles by Kat Hong!
Check out restaurants in New York City:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CA3Rvbop4gO/ by @kumeda.design
https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6Q9iUpFyR/ by @kumeda.design
Use EatOkra to find Black-owned restaurants near you!
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You Educator's Guide by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (This guide for educators on how to teach racism would make an amazing addition to school curriculum! Speak to your teachers, administrators, and Board of Education to change the way such important topics are taught in schools!)
Resources from Equal Justice Initiative:
“EJI is committed to educating people around historical narratives to advance a truthful conversation on race and poverty in our nation. This work has included significant public education and community engagement efforts with student groups and community members of all ages. EJI believes we cannot understand our contemporary issues, including mass incarceration, without understanding the legacies of our nation's history of racial and economic injustice. Here are some core resources that we hope will be useful to you:
Our reports, which feature resources on a variety of historical eras and experiences, including (1) the domestic slave trade, focusing on Montgomery, Alabama's history as it became the capital of the domestic slave trade in the south by 1860, (2) the legacy of racial violence during Reconstruction, (3) the era of racial terrorism, defined by more than 4,400 documented cases of racial terror lynching of African Americans and the particular targeting of African American veterans, and (4) the era of segregation that revealed the massive resistance of many white Americans against civil liberties and rights for African Americans. The narratives of racial difference that persisted during these eras created lasting legacies of ongoing inequities and disparities that we still face today. For online interactive resources to complement these reports, we have developed two specialized sites to house our research related to Lynching in America and Segregation in America, both of which provide numerous resources, including interactive maps, personal testimonials from community members impacted by this history, and documentary style reporting. We also have a Lynching in America curriculum that can be used to help high school students understand this history more clearly and how it impacts us today.
There are three videos in our video library made in collaboration with artist Molly Crabapple that help explain our nation's history of racial and economic injustice, and how the legacy of that history has contributed to bias, error, and injustice in our criminal justice practices today. One is our "Slavery to Mass Incarceration" video, the other is our "Racial Terror Lynching in America" video and the third is our "Reconstruction in America" video.
EJI also has ways for communities to tangibly engage with this history as well. Our Community Remembrance Projects were designed to provide community members and other groups with opportunities to engage with their local histories. Our projects include Soil Collections and Historical Marker Projects that local community coalitions can help facilitate to raise awareness of local histories of racial terrorism and present-day legacies of those injustices. Finally, EJI has an award-winning 2020 history of racial injustice calendar and online timeline which can be used as a tool for learning more about people and events in American history that are critically important but not well known. .
In terms of this and EJI’s legal work, we do have some resources that help to continue to advance understanding of our work related to challenging mass incarceration:
We have a curriculum developed to meet Common Core Standards, that serves as a teacher's guide to discussing Just Mercy. The Just Mercy film has a PG-13 rating and might also be another resource for engaging students with the content.
To provide an overview of the legal work that EJI focuses on, you can access our "About EJI: Challenging Racial Injustice" video. Our video library on our website will have many resources to choose from that cover the broad range of topics on criminal justice reform and our Race and Poverty project.
For our work related to challenging excessive and harsh punishments for children condemned to die in prison, there are several videos in our video library related to this work, including this specific video called "Cruel and Unusual: Sentencing 13- and 14-Year-Old Children to Die in Prison." The video includes the stories of some children, usually a bit older than when they were first sentenced to die in prison, sharing their experiences.
We have a report called "All Children are Children: Challenging Abusive Punishment of Juveniles," that illuminates the issues around the harsh and excessive punishment around children condemned to die in prison, and includes some of the many stories raised in Just Mercy.
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality, HBO's documentary about Bryan Stevenson and the work of EJI, premiered on HBO at the end of June. This feature documentary focuses on Mr. Stevenson's life and career – particularly his indictment of the U.S. criminal justice system for its role in codifying modern systemic racism – and tracks the intertwined histories of slavery, lynching, segregation and mass incarceration. The film is now available to the public for non-HBO subscribers
Just Mercy (The film is currently available for free rental for the month of June 2020). A powerful true story about EJI, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice, Just Mercy is a bestselling book that has been adapted into a feature film The website includes a discussion guide as well.”
Image Credit: NPR The names of black people who were killed by policemen since July 2014.