art via @stuffgracemade
Antiracism in the long-term: 15 Ways to Take Action Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond
What day is it? 😆
(Happy whatever midweek day it is!)
I’m excited to hit “publish” on today’s post. It makes me hopeful. I’ve been thinking about the topic of “taking action” a LOT over the past couple of weeks. Addressing one of the country’s (and arguably, the world’s) most DIRE problems can be a little overwhelming, to say the least.
Where do you begin? Where is best to focus your efforts? And where can you make the most impact? How can you ensure this momentum keeps going BEYOND just what’s been circulating on social media?
In talking this over with you guys on Instagram stories, you had so many amazing ideas to share–so many ways you’re taking action in different areas of your life, and I wanted to round them all up in this blog post along with my own thoughts. I’m glad we can have this post to reference with all our collective ideas in one place to refer back to again and again.
I know the task at hand is so enormous, it’s easy to get discouraged. But we’re not going to solve this problem overnight. Realistically we’re probably not even going to solve it in this lifetime. But it’s a marathon we must stay focused on, and not a sprint. Small actions lead up to big change.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a great start! Thanks to all who weighed in!
Vote vote vote!
We hear “vote” and we automatically think about the Presidential election–but it’s also important to ensure you’re voting for your local candidates, too! Support, vote, and elect people who align with your values and priorities at every level. If you take ANYTHING away from this post–please let it be this!
Make sure you are 1. registered to vote, 2. understand where to vote on polling day, and 3. sign up for reminders about election dates and deadlines in your area. (Remember, guidelines and deadlines are different for each state–don’t wait until voting day, make sure you’re in the know!)
Because of the current political climate and the fact that several states postponed primary elections due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your responsibility and use your privilege to vote!
Vote411 is another great resource for everything you need to know to make your voting experience an easy one!
Consume Antiracist Content on an Ongoing Basis
Some of the most important antiracist work is done internally. Make an effort to create a “continuous education plan” of sorts on how you’ll do just that. I’m actually working behind the scenes to develop an ongoing antiracism educational series here on the blog, but I also highly recommend checking out these great reader suggestions/ideas:
- Sign up for Nicole Cardoza’s Daily Antiracist Emails. Each email includes an urgent and tactical action you can take to practice anti-racism each day; insights on the systemic and interpersonal practices that uphold white supremacy and systems of oppression; and clear and tangible resources to support your education.
- Read, read, read! (I definitely recommend starting with the book, Me and White Supremacy!) Never stop reading! Both antiracist books and other books by Black authors. (Use Google to find the best reccos for you!) Also, discuss books and the ideas presented in them with friends and family.
- Make a goal of lending out your antiracist books (and any books by BIPOC authors) to a different friend every time you complete one.
- Listen to NPR’s Code Switch– a podcast hosted by journalists of color that tackles the subject of race head-on and explores how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports, and everything in between.
Set up recurring donations
If you’re able, consider donating to relevant causes advocating for change. While lump-sum donations are wonderful, setting up smaller, reoccurring donations will ensure momentum continues into the future. ANY amount helps!
GG readers had the great suggestions to donate to a scholarship fund for BIPOC students in your field, and/or donate to your town’s local Juneteenth celebration. Another positive way to make an impact is to research and donate to local bond funds in your area.
Here are some other incredible organizations to donate to:
Protects and defends the human rights of Black transgender people by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power.
A police reform group that has been working on policy solutions informed by data and human rights principles.
A movement to end state-sanctioned violence. Liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.
We envision a world where Black mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.
Currently pursuing their She Safe, We Safe campaign that seeks to put an end to the different forms of gender violence that Black women, girls, femmes, and gender non-conforming people face every day.
The nation’s largest online racial justice organization that helps people respond effectively to injustice, and move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.
Creating a more fair and effective justice system that respects our American values of individual accountability and dignity while keeping our communities safe.
A mission to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and wellbeing of all persons.
Creates solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research, and community-centered collaboration.
A project of the National Lawyers Guild, this group helps people find legal counsel.
Provides housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy, and leadership development for women rebuilding their lives after prison
Dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society through litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.
Working for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system.
The nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization.
Committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Our resources and initiatives are collaborative and they prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing. We are becoming the ones we’ve been waiting for.
A collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever we can reach them.
By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails.
Focuses on three key criminal justice reform initiatives: prisoner release, record clearing through clemency and expungement, and reentry programs. A core social justice focus is to release incarcerated cannabis prisoners. Data shows, however, that most released prisoners fail without the proper resources in place. Reentry programs reduce recidivism. A criminal record can be a significant barrier to employment, housing, financial assistance, and more, so we work to clear cannabis prisoners record, given that those acts are now legal. Collectively these programs help cannabis prisoners become “fully free.”
Support Black Businesses
The power of individual buying power is not to be underestimated! Our dollars have the power to better distribute wealth in America and affect longterm change! The next time you’re in the shopping mood, use that opportunity to seek out a Black-owned business instead.
Kendall and I are working on a roundup of our favorite Black owned brands as we speak, but for now, I highly recommend checking out Buy From BIPOC. They highlight some really amazing brands and designers. In fact, they’ve turned me onto a lot of great new brands!
Shift your budget: Another great idea you guys had was allocating a percentage of your shopping and eating out budgets each month to Black businesses and restaurants.
Support Black-owned bookstores: Either directly, or by purchasing books through Bookshop.org and Librofm (audiobooks) to support Black bookstores! (I suggest Chicago’s Black woman-owned bookstore, Semicolon!)
Be vocal–with your elected officials, and beyond!
While signing petitions is necessary and a great, easy way to use your voice for change, take it one step further and make sure you are contacting your elected officials to make your voice heard. Email and call them to demand they support racial justice reform and police reform. If you aren’t sure where to start or how to do that, I love Resistbot because it makes it easy to look up and contact your representatives in just a couple of texts!
Right now, you can contact your House representative and urge them to co-sponsor and push for a vote on Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, and Karen Bass’s resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and use of excessive force. Find out more about the bill here and learn how to make the call to your representatives here! (They even include a script for you!) Get in touch with your senators regarding their support of the Justice in Policing Act.
Speaking of, don’t forget about contacting police departments and city officials as well.
Stay in the know about recent events, and keep using your voice to continue to demand justice. Keep a close eye on the officers arrested for the murder of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks (and sadly, so many others) as their cases go to trial. Be loud ESPECIALLY for Breonna Taylor (the officers involved have still not been taken into custody). Keep using your voice to advocate that Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch get full investigations into their deaths. That Riah Milton and Rem’mie Fells’ killers are found and prosecuted.
I know it’s easy to think your voice doesn’t make a difference here, but here’s a great reminder of all the amazing wins that have been accomplished only because so many people came together to use their voices!
Don’t miss this: Thanks to the amazing resources floating around social media, I also found this website that makes it SUPER easy to get in touch with your elected officials! In fact, all you do is pull up your zip code, and it lists them out, with pre-generated emails! (TBH I wordsmithed the pre-worded emails a bit, but it was insanely helpful!)
Engage with your University + Related Organizations
If you’re a current student or alumni, contact your university and ask them how they are ensuring BIPOC are supported and represented in both the staff and curriculum.
Depending on the school, the best contact will vary, but the dean of undergraduates, dean of graduates, the office of alumni relations, and your individual school or college are great places to start!
If you’re an alumni member, start conversations within your alumni associations, both internally and on social networks.
I also love this GG reader suggestion: if you were in a sorority, contact headquarters to ensure anti-racism training, education, and resources are provided to current sorority members, and spark a dialogue about what more your sorority can do — both on a chapter and national level.
Support Black Creators
Shopping at Black businesses isn’t the only way to support Black creators and creatives! Here are some other great ways you can make a difference:
- Make a conscious effort to diversify the creators, influencers, and accounts you follow on Instagram. Continuously SHARE their content. It makes a huge difference!
- Try recipes from Black food bloggers and repost them to your social channels and share them with friends. Here’s a great list of Black food bloggers!
- Enquire with your local art gallery or museum about what percentage of art is created by Black artists and advocate for a larger percentage.
- Join Black creatives’ Patreon to support their work, or see if they have a Venmo! Many of the incredible anti-racism resources circulating through social media right now are free of charge, yet require a ton of effort to make! So donating to the creators of these works is the least we can do.
- Make an effort to read books by black authors, writers, poets. (Not just antiracism books!)
Seek out Antiracist Courses
Take your content one step further by engaging in courses designed to help you think through complex issues. Here are some courses recommended by GG readers:
- Purchase the replay of Moe Motivates’ Racist Habits Course and/or Antiracism 101 Course. (She also has a class on how to talk about racism with kids!) Monique is an anti-racism educator, podcast host, author, and speaker with a ton of valuable resources and content. You can find more info here!
- Rachel Cargle’s 30-day #DoTheWork course. Rachel is a public academic, writer, lecturer, and activist. You can sign up for the free course here! (But also consider Venmoing her for her work if you can!)
- Rhodesia J Designs has a 5 Day Social Media Inclusivity Challenge geared toward business owners and entrepreneurs!
Be vocal and engaged in antiracism practices at work
Depending on your field and company, there are a variety of ways to commit to being antiracist at work. Here are some places to start:
- If it’s unclear, ask your company which actions/steps they are taking to fight racial injustice. And aim to start an ongoing dialogue.
- Be aware and vigilant of how your BIPOC coworkers are being treated and speak up when you see questionable behavior from others. This isn’t always in the form of overt racist remarks, so pay attention–this could look like an unequal division of work, being passed over for promotions, not considering a diverse pool of candidates for a job opening–just to name a few.
- First, ensure you did not sign an NDA when it comes to discussing salary when you were hired. If not, consider starting an open dialogue about salary amongst your coworkers, especially those in the same/similar roles as you. If there are discrepancies between white coworkers and your Black coworkers and workers of color, approach this issue with your manager and/or HR.
- See if your company matches employee donations to BLM organizations.
- Lobby for a diversity and inclusion committee at your company. Volunteer to start one!
- Ask that Juneteenth be made a company holiday or that your company provide a time/event to reflect on what the day means.
Take antiracism actions within your local school district:
- Buying inclusive/diverse books and crayons representative of skin color for teachers off of Amazon wishlists. Here’s a great overview of how to do that!
- Reader Shiona had the great suggestion of reaching out to schools and urging them to adopt universal screening when it comes to students’ behavioral and academic problems. “This is a way to consider cultural backgrounds/traumas/mental health backgrounds when it comes to deciding what to do with a student who is struggling academically and showing behavioral outbursts,” she says. “Schools currently use this for disabilities, but not for race, and consequently, Black American students tend to stay in the lower scoring percentage.”
- Donate to and fundraise for your local underfunded public schools. (Not just your own kids’ schools!)
- If your child’s school’s faculty is comprised of mostly white teachers, be vocal about the need to hire BIPOC.
- Inquire about what books are being read in school and demand curriculum include several books by Black authors, both fiction, non-fiction, antiracism, and Black history.
- Demand that Black history is being accurately covered and portrayed.
- Consider raising funds in your community to donate antiracist books to classrooms and schools, especially primary white ones.
Give the kids in your life The Equal Opportunity Book Box Subscription
I love this GG reader suggestion! The Equal Opportunity Book Box Subscription is a socially-responsible children’s book subscription box that donates one book to low-income kids for every book sold. All stories feature diverse characters and inclusive themes. This is a great idea to gift the kids in your life that ensures characters of color and themes of inclusivity are included in the content they are consuming!
Don’t Shy Away From Uncomfortable Conversations
It can be tempting to not engage with family members and close friends who disagree with you on matters of racial injustice, but it’s important to have the uncomfortable conversations–that’s where seeds of change are planted! A lot of GG readers said they’re committed to having the “all lives matter” talk/argument with family members. So just remember: you aren’t going to change someone’s opinion in one conversation. Again–marathon, not sprint. 😉
Let Your Neighbors Know Where You Stand
Attend a protest or volunteer
Of course, this option isn’t for everyone, especially given COVID, but if you’re able and comfortable (and you wear a mask and do your best to keep your distance!) attending a protest is a very powerful way to fight for change. There are so many kinds of protests–from walks, to sit-down demonstrations, you can definitely find one that suits your comfort level. Reach out to friends then ask them to come with you!
There are also lots of other ways to volunteer in person that don’t involve going to a protest. For instance, you could help gather/drop off supplies for protestors or make signs. There are also many organizations on a local level that need volunteers. Consider what skills you have to offer, do some research, and ask around!
Create a long term action plan
Take some time to take all of the above in. Think through which of these areas speak to you most. You don’t have to do it all and you don’t have to do it all at once. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Do you have extra time these days? Consider starting with volunteering! Did you get a tax refund this year? Consider donating all or a portion of it to an organization that aligns with an issue you’re passionate about. Do you have kids? Explore how you will continue talking to them about race. And allow them to be involved in coming up with your action plan as a family.
Like anything that you’re trying to incorporate into your lifestyle, it takes commitment. Kendall (who is forever more organized than I ever will be) suggests starting by making a list of what ideas speak to you most (either from above, or others you have!) Then, divvy them into monthly and weekly priorities. When you’re done, you’ll have a great action plan in front of you!