Black Lives Matter. It’s everywhere. The murder of George Floyd sparked a global protest of the injustices people of color have had to face for decades. These protests continue even down to this day. People of all races rally for justice. While a majority of protestors are people of color, those who aren’t have also taken to the streets. It’s no doubt a challenging situation, especially nowadays when you want to help fight for justice when you want to do more than just hold up a picket sign and march through the streets; but you’re just not sure what. Then it becomes difficult to ask, for fear of saying something that might offend the very group you’re trying to help. So if you’re trying to make a lasting difference, but just aren’t sure how; helping in a time of social unrest has arrived.
Unfortunately, many families have lost their breadwinners due to racial injustice. Whether their family member has been incarcerated or tragically killed, these families are struggling. Take into account funeral expenses, household bills, even the basic need to put food on the table; it’s no wonder these families are having a tough time. With this in mind, one can see how donations can go a long way. If everyone donated to the cause, many wouldn’t have to wonder if they’ll be able to feed their families, or even have to face eviction.
When a loved one is unjustly persecuted, sometimes the result is wrongful incarceration. If bail is an option, putting up bail money can be one of the toughest things for someone who’s already trying to make ends meet. When other bills, even rent, are difficult to pay, putting up bail can be an even further financial burden. Though services such as bail bonds can help defer the full cost of bail, they usually require 10 – 15% of the actual bail money. This can run a pretty penny, depending on what bail was set at. Donating to bail bonds on behalf of affected families can make a big difference for a family in need.
Local Black Lives Matter chapters are also ready and willing to accept donations. The money given can help them allocate funds to where it’s needed most, such as to the aforementioned bail bonds, and other critical areas. Contact your local Black Lives Matter chapter to see just where your help is needed.
Another way to help in a time of social unrest would be to get involved in clean-up and rebuilding. While most protests have been peaceful, some unscrupulous individuals have used the protests and Black Lives Matter movement as a reason to loot or damage property. Many organizations have organized rallies and groups to clean up and rebuild businesses that have been affected. Business owners clamor for state or other government assistance to be able to care for the needs of their businesses, but sometimes these requests fall on deaf ears. And even if they don’t, due to the economic strain Covid-19 has put on just about everyone, state and government funds are being stretched practically to their limit.
Whether due to looting or not, helping communities rebuild, or even improve in general, can also go a long way. There are unfortunately communities where people of color live, that are not as well taken care of as more affluent areas. Making repairs and improvements to not only the aesthetics, but the functionality of these neighborhoods; such as libraries, schools, and playgrounds; can have a profound effect. When people care about their neighborhood, confidence, pride, and overall morale increase.
Spread The Word
One of the most powerful ways to help, and get other people to help, is word of mouth. Use your voice. Talk to friends, family, co-workers; make others aware that you have an interest in and are supporting the cause, and you’d like them to as well. It doesn’t mean that you have to go to protests; it could simply mean adjusting some strongly-entrenched views that many may have regarding people of color. Stereotypes abound; in terms of everyone. Adjusting your views, as well as encouraging others to do the same, can help get rid of the negative picture or in a time of social unrest that people sometimes have when it comes to people of color.
Letting go of negative stereotypes also helps strengthen communities. When every member of the community is cared for and viewed as equals, everyone will look out for one another. At the end of the matter, we’re all part of one race; the human race. No person should look down on another because of their race, culture, background, religion, or economic status. Encouraging others to view each other as equals is a small step that has big results.
While a majority of people of color will be grateful for the heartfelt assistance, some are unfortunately so jaded by the way things are, that they may present themselves as being apathetic, and occasionally even hostile. But please, do not be discouraged. This is a hardened outer shell with years of pain behind it. People of color are often conditioned from youth to distrust anyone who isn’t a person of color; whose melanin doesn’t match their own. While this is understandable given the years of hurt and mistrust, it also creates an unfair bias against non-people-of-color who genuinely care.
We know that society is not only black and white, good and bad. A majority of people are good, and every group has its bad. Do not give up fighting against the bad; even if it seems that your efforts are at first unappreciated. Consistent, earnest effort lets even the harshest of critics know that you are sincere.
Outlook for the Future
With the world engaged in social and economic upheaval, there’s little telling what will take place over the next months, years, even decades. Racial injustice has been a prevalent force for so many years, to the point that some doubt that it can ever change; but there is hope.
Even though it may seem that one individual produces small results, look at the bigger picture:
Imagine an empty bucket, and someone comes along and drops a teaspoon of water in it. At first look, it appears to be a literal ‘drop in the bucket’. But imagine if many people, all of them carrying teaspoons, some even tablespoons, or cups, come; and they all keep putting water in. Eventually, that bucket will fill up. Similarly, if several individuals produce small results, together, they will create bigger results. That individual turns into a group, and the continued efforts compound on one another and keep growing. Every little bit helps. If people continually work together, injustice will be fought, and we can see a future where people of color won’t have to face injustice and discrimination anymore.