All Americans should aid Black Lives Matter

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: All Americans must stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, take real action

Illustration of Black Lives Matter protesters wearing face masks holding up signs.
Emily Bi/Senior Staff

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The Editorial Board of The Daily Californian has no Black members; in recognition of this fact, we have published a note from the Editor-in-Chief regarding our commitment to improving diversity in our staff here.

American institutions have harmed and exploited Black Americans since the nation began.

Some institutions oppressing Black people — above all, slavery — preceded the United States but have informed and suffused every part of our modern culture. Institutional racism is woven into business and government, art and science, medicine and media, our laws and our everyday lives. And almost no institution today can claim not to fail Black Americans — including The Daily Californian.

On May 25, when a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, it was thus not a sign our institutions are broken: Floyd’s death showed our institutions working as designed. Across the country, Black people die at the hands of police with horrifying frequency, and most leaders pay only lip service to the urgent need for institutional reform.

Since its start in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement has emerged as the nation’s foremost organization advocating racial justice — and a decisive end to institutional racism. In response to the death of Floyd, Black Lives Matter has mobilized peaceful protests yet again to decry our national epidemic of anti-Black violence. In this moment, every American must stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement — the living legacy of the Civil Rights Movement — and participate in concrete action on behalf of Black lives and Black liberty.

To end our national culture of white supremacy, non-Black Americans need to contribute however they can to Black Lives Matter, Black activists and Black-owned businesses. Non-Black Americans need to acknowledge Black trauma without furthering it, to celebrate Black culture without appropriating it, to support Black movements without impeding them. And non-Black Americans need to accept that this is not their movement — nor their moment — to lead.

Crucially, when this moment of national attention ends, the movement will not, and sincere support means sustained support. Allies of the Black Lives Matter movement must continue to contribute their funds, their time and their attention well after media focus subsides.

The Bay Area has a rich legacy of Black intellectuals, Black artists, Black leaders and Black activism: Non-Black residents should educate themselves about Bay Area Black history and contribute to local organizations and movements advancing racial justice. 

As our community seeks to educate itself, buy from local Black-owned bookstores. To respect health guidelines while benefiting local Black-owned restaurants (lists of which are circulating on social media), order takeout or delivery. Black-owned businesses of all kinds deserve your support; patronize them. Above all, activist organizations need resources now: Donate to national organizations such as Black Lives Matter and to local bail funds and racial justice initiatives.

Justice for Black Americans has been centuries delayed, but every American must help ensure it is not denied.

 

Resources List: Donations and other forms of support are strongly encouraged.

  1. The UC Berkeley Black Student Union, whose work can be followed on Twitter here, is making supplies available for those protesting police brutality and racial injustice in Alameda County and the Bay Area. To support the Black Student Union, contact [email protected] or donate directly via Venmo to the account @calbsu. UC Berkeley students are strongly encouraged to support the efforts of the BSU.
  2. The Minnesota Freedom Fund “pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.”  Here, the Fund suggests supporting its partner organizations, which are also working to support protestors and end systemic racism.
  3. The Ella Baker Center organizes “with Black, Brown, and low-income people to build power and prosperity” in those communities. Donations to the Center may be made here.
  4. The National Bail Fund Network supports those working with community bail funds in their fight “to radically change local bail systems and reduce incarceration.” Here, the Network provides a national directory of bail funds to which donations may be made.
  5. The Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee “stands against political repression” and provides support for anti-racist action. Donations to the Committee’s community bail fund may be made here.
  6. The Anti Police-Terror Project is “a Black-led, multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable and sustainable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color.” Donations to the Project may be made here.
  7. The East Oakland Collective is a Black-led “member-based community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by working towards racial and economic equity.” Donations to the Collective may be made here.
  8. The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has offered to defend those currently protesting racial injustice, and they work “to protect and defend communities, social justice movements, and political and grassroots organizations and activists advocating and organizing for those rights.” Donations to the local Guild chapter may be made here.
  9. The Black Organizing Project is “a Black member-led community organization working for racial, social, and economic justice through grassroots organizing and community-building in Oakland, California.” Donations to the Project may be made here.
  10. A petition for justice for George Floyd and his family can be found and signed here. The petition has more than 15 million of the 16.5 million signatures it is currently seeking.
  11. The Sentencing Project has worked for three decades to correct racial disparities in our criminal justice system and to end mass incarceration. Donations to the Project may be made here.
  12. The National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, an organization primarily led by Black women, is working to shift the United States “from a criminal legal system to community-led human justice,” particularly as it affects women of color. Donations to the Council may be made here.
  13. Color of Change, the “largest online racial justice organization in the country,” organizes grassroots activism to combat racial injustice across the country. Donations to Color of Change may be made here.
  14. The Black Youth Project 100, which advocates an “Agenda to Build Black Futures,” is currently mobilizing a campaign called “She Safe, We Safe” to end gender violence against Black women and gender-nonconforming individuals. Donations to the Project may be made here.
  15. The United Negro College Fund is a nonprofit that annually awards more than $100 million in scholarships to Black students attending HBCUs or seeking programs, internships and fellowships. Donations to the Fund may be made here.
  16. The NAACP has worked for generations to secure the civil rights of Black Americans. Donations to the NAACP may be made here.
  17. Among the countless other Black media resources that can help allies of Black Lives Matter educate themselves, National Public Radio’s podcast Code Switch and the New York Times’ podcast 1619 both feature constructive discussions on race, Black history and institutional racism in America.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and allies of Black Lives Matter should also seek out reliable resources on social media and in their communities to further educate themselves and find ways to contribute to the work of Black activists and those protesting racial violence and discrimination.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the summer 2020 opinion editor, Aidan Bassett.