The most important message for non-black people to take away from the Black Lives Matter movement is that we all have a responsibility as allies to educate ourselves and take direct action in order to help the movement. This can be done by volunteering for mutual aid groups, signing petitions, donating to bail funds, supporting black organizers and black-owned businesses, and reading and consuming the work of black authors, creators and activists.
The first step we must take is stop asking black people who are already overwhelmed and exhausted for answers as to what we can do to help, and instead use the resources we already have at our disposal like the internet and social media to educate and inform one another on subjects like police brutality and prison abolition.
Here is a list of black authors, creators, and mutual aid funds that I have found extremely useful.
Organizations – June is Pride Month, and black trans people are one of the most vulnerable and underrepresented sectors of both the black community and the LGBTQIAA+ community. So the organizations that I will be listing are fundraisers and mutual aid funds that are inclusive to black queer people, or centered specifically on helping black people under the LGBTQIAA+ umbrella. The Okra Project, the Black Trans Travel Fund, LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund, Assata’s Daughters, Reclaim the Block, and Black Visions Collective are just a few of many resources that pride themselves on inclusivity and the safety of all black lives instead of just a select few. I have compiled a list of these organizations in a google doc that you can access here.
Content Creators – If you do not have the luxury of time to do the reading on topics like police brutality and prison abolition, there is a multitude of black content creators who have committed their life’s work to these teachings. One of the most notable is the black feminist writer and cultural critic, Kimberly Foster, who founded the digital community For Harriet; a platform for black women to tell their stories. She frequently does livestreams and Q&A’s on YouTube and has given keynote speeches at Cornell University and Boston College. Kid Fury, Crissle, Hope Giselle, Kat Blaque, and Ericka Hart are queer black creators with online platforms where they cover topics like pop culture, sex education, decolonization, microaggressions, and black history.
Books – My number-one reading recommendation for white people is “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. The first step for non-black people to become allies is to take accountability for the role they play in the policing and oppression of black people, and allow themselves to be uncomfortable, because there’s no way to have these conversations without being uncomfortable. “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde is a collection of essays about what it’s like to live as a queer black woman. “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis and “The End of Policing” by Alex S. Vitale are excellent written bodies of work that examine the history of corruption and racial capitalism that is ingrained in the prison system and policing in America. “Are Prisons Obsolete” can be accessed in its entirety here.
During times like these it can be easy to feel caught up in resource overload. However, there are many pages, google docs, and websites that have compiled bail funds, mutual aids, petitions and numbers people can call or text demanding that state officials take the necessary steps for justice to be served and to ensure the public safety of black communities everywhere. There is an excellent Black Lives Matter carrd site with a myriad of resources for those who are looking for ways to help, which can be visited by clicking here.