In 2016, during an interview with Stephen Colbert on Late Show, Will Smith said: “Racism is not getting worse, It’s getting filmed.” The quote has been unearthed following the recent, tragic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and reflects the reality of Black Americans who walk the streets every day feeling unprotected, marginalized, diminished, and without opportunities.
Police brutally, racist attacks, discrimination, and racial profiling is the plague that seems to be recurrent in the United States. Although racial segregation is outlawed in North America, history continues to show us that skin color can be enough motive to disrespect, antagonize, and label a human being as dangerous or less than, often with little justice to follow.
Hostility and violence targeted at Black communities and individuals should not be tolerated or overlooked by bystanders; therefore, we created a list of five ways we all can demand justice for victims of police violence as well as violence motivated by racial prejudice.
Educate Yourself and Your Circle
Learning about other cultures, about our past as a nation, and in this particular case reading about racism and how we transcend it, will give us the necessary tools to demand equality and justice. For an article published last year in The New York Times, Ibram X. Kendi put together a list of books that, according to him, “force us to confront our self-serving beliefs and make us aware that ‘I’m not racist’ is a slogan of denial.”
Even if you can’t get your hands on a book right now, there are countless resources available online, including this one from Alan Pelaez Lopez for Everyday Feminism, podcasts like 1619, and even series like Ava DuVernay’s 13th.
Know That U.S Rights Are Guaranteed for Every Citizen Regardless Their Skin Color
Just a little reminder that we think bears repeating: According to the Constitution of the United States of America “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
In basic terms, if you are born or naturalized in the United States you have “equal protection of the laws.” Not protecting the rights of Black Americans is unconstitutional and patently un-American.
Link Up With Local or National Organizations
Regardless of your skin complexion, linking up with local or national organizations that have long been advocating for these issues is another great way to not being on the side of the oppressor. To start, visit Color of Change, an online organization assembled to counter racial injustice, specifically in relation to the injustice inflicted upon Black communities in America. You can take action by joining their online campaigns, and if you have the means you can contribute funds to their effort to build a more just, less hostile society.
Ask Your State Governments and Policing Agencies How They Are Addressing Anti-Blackness
Call, e-mail, tweet, or send a letter to your state government and policing agencies and ask them how they are addressing anti-Blackness in your area. USAGov, the official guide to government information and services, offers a directory with your state’s governor and even the mayor of the District of Columbia. If you don’t like what they have to say in response, whether through their platform or a more personal response, familiarize yourself with your local elected officials or candidates running for office so that you know who is willing to fight for a just future.
Sign Petitions and Create Public Pressure
While we are somewhat limited in our ability to assemble in person for demonstrations and rallies, we can look to the Internet for some tangible acts. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are our go-to platforms when we want to share our thoughts, share a selfie, or announce something important. Find petitions related to the cause you are supporting and use your social media presence to spread the word and invite others to join you, as well as to condemn injustice and demand action.