People around the country are taking to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd and police brutality. But there’s still a pandemic on, meaning you might have to risk your health and the health of others in order to show your support. It does not have to be a one-or-the-other choice, though. There are plenty of ways to assist protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement without leaving home during quarantine.
Support Bail Funds
Bail funds pay to get protesters out of jail and work toward ending cash bail, a system that preys on the poor. The National Bail Fund lists bail funds by state, a list of protest bail funds, and also has an emergency rapid response fund of its own.
Send Money to Legal Defense Funds
Once protesters are out of jail, they will face legal fees. To that end, there are legal defense funds. The National Lawyers Guild carries out important restorative justice work, including organizing the defense of protesters. You can give to the guild directly or use its resources to organize legal defense funds.
Colin Kaepernick has formed the Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative to provide defense attorneys for those arrested in Minneapolis.
The NAACP has the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has been advocating and educating for change for decades.
Provide Mutual Aid
Throughout the pandemic, mutual aid groups have kept communities safe by organizing to shop for food, pick up prescriptions, and run errands for the elderly and immunocompromised. Now they’re supporting protesters with medical and other needs. Plus, they still support some of the communities hit hard by COVID, particularly as curfews continue in many cities.
Search for a mutual aid group in your area or donate to ones in larger cities, like Mutual Aid LA (Los Angeles), SF Community Support (San Francisco), East of the River Mutual Aid Fund (Washington, DC), Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund (Atlanta), and Bed-Stuy Strong (New York).
Supply Street Medics
Street medics are volunteers who put themselves on the line to provide medical assistance to those injured during protests. They often are EMTs, firefighters, and medical professionals, and have been injured by the police many times over the past days. You can consult this list of street medic organizations to find and support local ones.
Defend Voting Rights
Voting is your right as an American citizen, and yet voter suppression is a tremendous issue across the country, particularly for marginalized communities. With the pandemic, voting rights are in bigger jeopardy than ever. Contact your senators and representative to support the VoteSafe Act, which calls for mail-in ballots for the 2020 election.
Talk to Your Friends and Family
One of the most powerful things you can do is talk to your friends and family about race. Not through Facebook posts but through one-on-one open conversations.
Women’s Health has a good guide on how to initiate talks in non-confrontational ways.
The New York Times put together a list of books for all ages. You can purchase them through Semicolon Chi, a Black woman-owned bookstore that has been using its shop as a place for children to get free lunches, since Chicago suspended its lunch program during the protests. While you’re on their site, pick up some reading material for yourself.