How to Truly Help Black Lives Matter
If there is a topic where there should be no grey areas or debate, it's racism. We stand against racism, racial discrimination, racial profiling, and racial bias towards black people and people of colour. We stand against violence towards black people and people of colour. We stand against injustice and harassment against black people and people of colour. We will stand against them long after the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag will stop trending on social media. No buts, no ifs, no devil's advocate, no grey area. Period.
We have all been flooded with information this week following George Floyd's murder, which could lead to thinking the world is awakening to the issue of racism, a topic that has been muffled for so long. But we also predict many of the posts we have read and voices we have heard do not necessarily mean they will be followed by action. We know people who actively stand against racism all have different ways to fight against it. We know introverts and anyone agoraphobic will tend to avoid protests and rather use their voice elsewhere, be it online, on their clothing, by using their wallets, by voting or by actively helping within their community. Anyone with a disability may find it hard to go out there and protest, especially at a time where we start opening our eyes on police brutality. There are many other ways to help.
Here below is a list of things anyone and everyone can do to help the Black Lives Matter movement, take an effective stand against racism, and make a change that lasts.
Sign petitions to bring justice to victims and protection for the ones who denounce racism and specifically police violence towards black people
This website was created after George Floyd's murder in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and is packed with ways to help, including petitions (it has been translated in several languages so it could be shared globally).
It includes petitions to bring justice to black victims of police violence, but protection for the ones who exposed them. Darnella Frazier, the black teenager who filmed George Floyd's murder has yet to be protected against the harassment she is now facing.
Petitions can help as they call on a response from the government once they have reached their goal. In the UK, 10,000 signatures are needed to get an answer from the government. Then 100,000 signatures are needed to be considered for debate in Parliament. Here's how you can create your own petition in the UK if you would like to support Black Lives Matter - because systematic racism and police brutality are a British issue too.
Once you have signed a petition, don't forget to check your email to confirm your email address.
Donate to anti-racism organisations and victims' funds
There are many ways to donate, and donating doesn't necessarily mean giving money. You can donate financially to websites and Go Fund me pages created for the victims, their families, the protesters, black owned businesses, organisations and funds for Black Lives Matter, but you can also help if you are short on cash.
You can make a difference by streaming playlists specifically created to give proceeds to the Black Lives Matter movement, or stream videos without clicking the ads so that all ad revenue will go to the BLM movement, such as associations that offer protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals and advocacy. One of these videos is Zoe Amira's video on YouTube, which is packed with black voices, links to help the BLM movement, artists to support and other ways to help.
Here are more ways to donate, with or without money.
Educate yourself on how to be a non-optical ally, and share the word
If you post a black square on Instagram but only hire white employees and buy from white-owned retailers and businesses, you are not helping Black Lives Matter. Just like we encourage businesses and individuals to look into full-cycle sustainability, look deep into your racism cycle. A few questions you can start with are: Who do I personally know who's black? How many black employees are there in my company? How are my black employees, colleagues, and friends feeling? Do they have a platform to speak up? How are black voices and black faces represented around me? Are they visible? Do they have the same chances to grow and climb up the ladder as white people? Do black people have leadership positions within my company
Here are a few articles published this week on non-optical allyship and performative posting. Remember that silence doesn't help anyone, as much as non-action at the root doesn't. Question the system that oppresses black people, as it is everywhere around us. And for educational reads, we recommend Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Engage in online activism by reporting racist and fascist posts, reporting the accounts responsible for them, and flooding dangerous racist and fascist hashtags with other content to silence their voices
Having a smartphone and social media apps are not just practical to post your picnic pictures. If you think you do not have a power in silencing racism, think about the report button. It takes as long to report a racist or fascist post on social media as it takes to mute the things you don't want to see. Think of the posts you muted this week. Did you mute 'negative vibes' posts because the flow of BLM related content was too overwhelming? The time it took (1.5 second) to mute an upsetting post is the time it takes to report a post calling for violence against protesters, calling for outrageous challenges disrespecting black victims of police violence, blatant racist posts encouraging hate towards black people.
This week has also seen the rise of users mass 'trolling' the posts encouraging people to snitch on protesters in the USA. These posts were asking for pictures and personal information of protesters so the police could arrest them, they got flooded with pictures of cats, Sponge Bob and Kpop bands instead. Snitch apps also got broken in the same way over 24 hours.
You can protect the BLM movement too by helping flood racist and fascist voices by hijacking their hashtags and post your own unrelated content. Fill their space and make them useless. It does make a difference and could potentially save a life.
Support black people by hiring more black professionals, buying from black-owned businesses and giving them a platform to speak
Think about who really surrounds you, may it be in your personal entourage, but also your colleagues, your business partners, your employees, your clients, your suppliers or simply the brands you buy from. Look into the businesses you give your money to in your personal and professional life, who do they support? Which side are they on?
If you post a black square on Instagram but only hire white employees and buy from white-owned retailers and businesses, you are not helping Black Lives Matter. Just like we encourage businesses and individuals to look into full-cycle sustainability, look deep into your racism cycle. A few questions you can start with are: Who do I personally know who's black? How many black employees are there in my company? How are my black employees, colleagues, and friends feeling? Do they have a platform to speak up? How are black voices and black faces represented around me? Are they visible? Do they have the same chances to grow and climb up the ladder as white people with equal skills ? Do black people have leadership positions within my company
It is not enough to hire black employees if they do not have an outlet to discuss racial bias and racism at work. Encourage the conversation between leadership and black professionals, between black and white professionals, between black professionals only, and break white silence within your organisation. Organise meetings and safe spaces for black professionals to share their experiences. Find solutions based on these conversations to make work a welcoming place for black people, where they can be themselves and grow. Be active in pulling systematic racism from its roots and clean it up for good.
Make an audit of your content: are you promoting black voices? Are you showing black faces?
Promoting black voices ranges from spreading the word about black authors to reading and sharing articles written by black journalists. When it comes to your marketing, whether it is your personal brand, your personal social media, in your personal networking, or your company's branding, do black people have any visibility?
When you make the choice to post content online, who are the faces? Which skin colour is associated to positive posts? Which one is associated to negative posts?
Several image banks offer beautiful pictures of black and brown people, such as Nappy and Eye for Ebony.
Vote, speak up, protest, and commit long-term
There are a hundreds of ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement and fight against racism, a different one for every day of our lives. We can only win this fight if we commit to making a change that lasts, not by only being outraged for a couple of weeks and moving on.
The death of George Floyd is in no way the fuel for black anger and for the current uprising against the racist system that oppresses black people, nor is it a surprise. These events happen everyday, and racism kills everywhere, in the USA and in the UK. His death is the match that set the fire ablaze, a fire that had been rendered dormant by an oppressing system, and looked down upon for so long.
In the UK we are currently watching a turn in American history from our screens, but we must remember to use our voting power ourselves to counter systematic racism and build a British society that truly welcomes all. We must commit long term to the fight against racism, and educate new generations about it so they can learn from our mistakes. One petition is currently spreading for changes to be made to the school system to address racial issues in the UK.
We could go on for hours, because in truth there are countless things to do to help the Black Lives Movement, that need to be done to eradicate racism once and for all. There is a different way for all types of personalities, for all circumstances. There is no excuse for inaction or white silence. At Dare PR we encourage you to be a non-optical ally and actively fight to make the change you want to see in the world. Anyone can make a difference if they truly care. If you still feel at a loss about what it is you can do to cancel racism once and for all, please feel free to email us here.
If you are a black business owner, or a black-owned business in need of PR and Marketing services, please contact us here. From today we will give 2 months of services free of charge to black-owned businesses. If this doesn't apply to you but you know anyone that could benefit from this, please share.
And remember to check your own racism first. You may have the best intentions in the world and still be a racist. Think about how racism operates and how it is rooted in your institutions, and your daily life choices. Change starts with you, and it is not optional anymore. Because black lives matter.