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8 Ways To Get Involved During Black History Month And Beyond



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Getting more involved with your local community is one way to show support.

CNET

2021’s Black History Month marks seven months since protests against the murders George FloydBreonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and other victims of police brutality are shaking the US and the world.

America’s account of systemic racism included local and global pledges to review police funding, ban chokehold maneuvers on civilians, and remove Southern figures and others involved in the slavery of black people. Tackling racial inequality in the US, particularly a racial wealth gap, is a top priority for President Joe Biden.

If you’re looking for ways to support black social organizations, we’ve gathered suggestions from the Black Lives Matter movement, NAACP, and American Civil Liberties Union, among others, to get you started.

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If you want to financially support one or more of the organizations whose message resonates with you, consider a periodic monthly donation to help with ongoing expenses.

Sarah Tew / CNET

1. Make a continuous monthly donation to an organization

Donating money to charity is an important way to support a movement or group, and your monetary contribution can help fund programs, legal battles, and salaries that keep the organization running. Many companies agree to double employee donations, doubling the size of your contribution.

Consider this too. Programs – especially nonprofits – need a reliable income year round to do their jobs. Instead of pledging a fixed amount, consider making a monthly donation. Even if it is “small,” your donation, along with others, can provide a steady flow of funds to help keep programs running smoothly.

In addition to your local food bank, literacy groups, and youth programs, you can donate to:

Black Lives Matter

NAACP

ACLU

The bail project

YMCA

Here is a list of 135 organizations that benefit black communities, including victims’ memorial funds, policy change advocates, LGBTQIA black groups, and youth-focused groups.

2. Buy consciously from black businesses and restaurants

Becoming a customer of local and small businesses protects the livelihoods of individuals within a community. If you’re not sure which businesses in your area are owned and operated by your black neighbors, there are several resources that can help.

Here’s how find black-owned restaurants where you live. Etsy highlights Black-owned sellers on its website for boutiques and custom goods. Many of these shop owners are women who sell jewelry and unique works of art.

We Buy Black and Official Black Wall Street are two other platforms that bring together businesses owned by members of the Black community.

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Black Lives Matter sells t-shirts and other clothing to raise money and promote the organization’s message.

Black Lives Matter

3. Wear Black Lives Matter gear and other clothing

What you wear speaks volumes, especially when the message supports racial equality and denounces hatred.

For example, the Black Lives Matter organization sells clothing ranging from hats and shirts to stickers and hoodies, and showcases artists. Buying this type of clothing offers another opportunity to provide financial support.

4. Sign petitions online, send texts, make phone calls, attend local events

Getting more involved in political action is a step anyone can take, and options range from a 20-second commitment to click on a pre-written petition to attending local events.

For instance, the ACLU website offers a handful of quick, moderately low-key ways to join the site, as well as some more involved options, such as calling or texting on behalf of the organization’s charities, and signing up to learn more about local events such as city hall meetings.

BLM has chapters in the US that you can join – there is also information on how to start a new chapter. The current petitions are about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the black community compared to other ethnic groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also shared supporting data.

5. Connect with local community groups and religious organizations

National and global organizations have the ability to collect resources and disseminate information. In addition, many feel they can make a difference in their towns, cities and states.

Your local school PTA, religious organization, your child’s extracurricular social group, your workplace, and City Hall are excellent places to listen to the challenges your wider community is facing and help make changes where you live.

For example, discussions may include lifting offensive and racist traditions, requiring sensitivity training, or improving outreach efforts to make a larger cross-section of the community feel welcome and valued.

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Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy, and the first step is to register.

CNET

6. Continue to help register and train voters

Voter education and registration take place throughout the year, and voting in local elections can have a direct impact on the communities you and others live in. Outreach often targets groups less likely to vote, such as young voters, those who may have more difficulty finding the time and resources to vote, and those who live in neighborhoods where they are concerned about their physical safety .

Voter suppression is to block or discourage groups of people, usually racial or ethnic minorities, from exercising their right to vote in various ways. Organizations are fighting the practice by helping voters register, educating them about their legal rights, and safely reaching a polling station or arranging a ballot by mail.

Targeting young voters, Rock the Vote is seeking volunteers to help with registration and turnout.

The YWCA, an organization focused on racial justice, support of violence against women, and empowerment, emphasizes practical ways to get involved in voter registration and polls.

7. Continue your self study: book groups, TV shows, more

Do you know how to identify forms of hidden racism? Were you aware of historical housing practices that prevented ethnic and racial groups from buying real estate in specific neighborhoods? By taking an education about the many forms of systematic oppression in the history of the modern world, you can identify bias and discrimination in yourself and in institutions around you.

You can join a book club or start a book club that focuses on topics of contemporary and historical racism. If you prefer to learn individually, put together your own curriculum or take one of the many suggested programs, such as this Autumn Gupta framework entitled Justice in June.

CNET also has this list of books, movies and TV shows to educate people of all ages about systematic racism.

8. Join a movement

Organizations are always looking for new members interested in receiving newsletters about events, community engagement and petitions that they can participate in. In addition to becoming active in a local social or religious group, you can join these nationally recognized organizations.

If you participate in personal activism …

If you plan to protest through these or other organizations, make sure you know your rights before you hit the street.


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