Black Lives Matter needs us – here’s how we can help
We’re sure that by now you’re aware of the incredible protests happening around the world this week, but what can we do to help?
By Faith Richardson
What is Black Lives Matter?
Black Lives Matter is a human rights movement that has been operating since 2013, although the fight against racism has been one that black people have been tackling alone for centuries. After the horrific murder of George Floyd on 25 May, it sparked indignation and horror that was long overdue.
This is something that should not be left to the black community to fight, and fix, alone. They need voices of people from every race and background to amplify theirs, particularly those who are in a place of privilege, and whilst it can be uncomfortable to recognise you haven’t done enough in the past, uncomfortability is a catalyst for growth and change, and we want to use that to help to do better. Angela Davis’ now-famous quote “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist” should be applied. I have personally been guilty of not speaking up because I’m afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, but by not speaking up I’ve done an injustice to black people across the world and have inadvertently allowed racism to continue. Now is the time to speak up against racism, to allow black people the room to have their voices heard and to find ways to help.
So, how can we turn this from protests into something life-changing? We’ve put together a list of some of the best places to donate, petitions to sign, educational resources, and businesses you can buy from to help create real change.
One of the easiest ways we can begin to help create change is education. I realised how little I truly knew about black history, about racism and about the real inequality black people are facing, and it’s not good enough. We can all learn more about historical and present-day racism and use this to self-reflect on how we can do better to support and amplify black voices around the world. Here are some of the best resources out there:
Now is more important than ever to listen to black voices. We’ve compiled a list of useful reading material to help provide information and perspective, with everything from books to articles to Twitter threads, to help open up communication and allow black voices to be heard.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge
Essential reading for everyone interested in understanding more about racism in the UK, this is uncompromising and accessible, with plenty of take-away points to help you live your life in a way that is fairer and kinder.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
An incredibly up-front and important book for anyone to read, Me and White Supremacy guides us through ways we can unlearn racism and commit to doing the right thing, regardless of how uncomfortable it is.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
As the founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, How to Be an Antiracist outlines the ways in which you can become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
75 Thing White People Can do for Racial Justice
Despite being first published in 2017, this article is updated continuously to ensure all information is useful, relevant and up to date. There are some excellent tips on how to help, groups you can join and initiatives to donate to.
Championing Diversity: this Black History Month, meet 100 creatives inspiring change
The creative community is another area that is predominantly white. This list of 100 black creatives who are creating change is well worth checking out.
Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap
Looking at how the injustices of historical racism are still contributing to modern-day inequality, this Netflix series covers everything from the housing discrimination to slavery and the impact it’s had on the modern-day racial wealth gap.
On Netflix now.
Looking at the United States criminal justice system, 13th exposes the racial inequality of a system meant to protect its citizens.
On Netflix now.
Who Killed Malcolm X
Looking at the mysterious assassination of one of America’s most famous Civil Rights activist, the series follows the search for the truth and justice for his murder.
On Netflix now.
Uncomfortably familiar, Strong Island looks at the shooting of William Ford at a garage and follows the mediocre investigation and treatment of his family.
On Netflix now.
There are some amazing people and websites online right now sharing information, history, stories and news to help provide education, resources and ways you can help. We’ve also included some amazing accounts who provide help, space and a platform for black folk. Here are some we highly recommend reading, listening to, and/or following:
Make a Stand
There are a lot of issues that arise from physically protesting during a global pandemic – the Newcastle Black Lives Matter, which was planned for Saturday 6 June, has been moved online to help protect protestors whilst allowing them to show their support. Find out more on Facebook, here.
Stand Up to Racism UK organise marches to protest against racism in the UK and help to create unity amongst us. The Newcastle section can be found on Facebook if you wish to stay on top of what’s happening in our region, click here.
You can also offer support by signing petitions and donating to causes supporting the movement – these are just some of the petitions being shared at the moment, and they are one of the quickest and easiest ways to add your voice to the growing number of people taking a stand.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, finances can be limited at the moment. Whilst we encourage you to donate whatever you can afford, there are other ways to help support not just the movement, but the black community as a whole. Here are some of the key places you can offer your financial support – if you cannot afford to financially support them personally, please share on your social media, to friends and family and raise awareness for them so other people can offer financial support.
Zoe Amira Video
If you’re financially unable to donate directly, this YouTube video is donating 100% of funds raised from adverts to associations offering bail funds, advocacy platforms named at the beginning of the video, and family funerals. All you have to do is let the video play through – you can even mute it if you need to focus your attention elsewhere. If you wish to watch it repeatedly, allow the video to finish, watch 3-5 other videos, then return to it to allow it to be classed as another view, and therefore generate more revenue.
This incredible Google Document has been set up to offer a comprehensive list of everywhere accepting donations in response to the protests and campaigns against racism. They also feature an impressive list of all research material, places you can find information, and ways to learn more.
This isn’t a fight that we will wake up from one day and have everything fixed. Going forward, we need to do more to support the black members of our communities, of our countries, and of the world. This means taking the time to research brands owned by black people and endeavouring to buy from them where possible. It means sharing the art of black creatives, to looking at our own workplace system and asking how we can do more to be more inclusive and diverse. Listening to their voices and allowing them the space to be heard and seen. These are things we must do every day from now on. It’s not enough to fight back when it reaches crisis point – we must work every day to make this better.
Here are some incredible businesses owned by black people who deserve our money and our attention. If you cannot afford to financially support them right now, please share their brands and their products, talk to your friends about them, and remember them when you do next come to spend money.
The Angelou Centre
Based right here in Newcastle, The Angelou Centre is a black-led charity which provides black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee women with everything from legal advice on immigration and violence, to training, development and employment support.
As featured in Elle, Kai Collective creates beautiful fashion which is both affordable and luxurious.
With European and Afro Atlantic approaches to her designs and influenced by everything from musical composition to history, Wales Bonner’s menswear and womenswear are incredible.
London-based Michelle Asare created sincerely nude when she couldn’t find any nude clothing that matched her skin tone. Inclusive of all sizes and skin tones, Sincerely Nude have got everything covered.
A quick and easy way to book treatments with the best beauty professionals in the UK.
Created to help travellers feel more connected with themselves, others and their environment, rather than focussing on guides for places to spend your money or get a great Instagram photo, Rest offers resources, gifts and workshops to help you have the best travel experience possible.
Handmade by its two founders, Yard is a perfect example of hands-on small business. With flavours inspired by Ashley’s Jamaican household, they even work directly with Jamaican cocoa sellers in St. Catherine, Jamaica.