Too many times, in too many cities and towns across this country — for far too long — we’ve mourned the loss of Black lives taken by police officers sworn to protect them.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Javier Ambler and countless others are not isolated or uncommon. These are tragedies resulting from a long history of institutional racism and violence against Black Americans. As long as Black communities live in fear of those who claim to protect and serve, we have failed.
In this fight against racism and discrimination, and for opportunity and accountability, we will do what is in our power to support and elect Democratic candidates up and down the ticket, who vow to embrace an anti-racist, anti-xenophobic platform, and who support the kind of reforms that will disrupt age-old systems, structures, cultures and practices that have propped up the racist treatment of Black and Brown people in this state and country throughout our history.
Dismantling institutional discrimination will take a consciously anti-racist effort, particularly from those who’ve been beneficiaries of bias. As activists, organizers, and allies, we know that direct and immediate action is the best way to make real change. So, we’ve put together a list of things you can do right now to fight for racial justice here in Massachusetts and across the country:
Sign a petition.
Black Lives Matter has an extensive list of petitions that take only a few minutes to sign, including one calling for the firing of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her own home.
COVID-19 has already disproportionately affected communities of color, so remember to wear a mask and practice good hygiene when protesting and practice social distancing if you can. You should also practice good “cybersecurity hygiene,” meaning you should:
- Enable full-disk encryption on your devices
- Use Signal/Wickr with disappearing messages for both text messages and phone calls
- Back up your data
- Enable airplane mode for the entire duration of your attendance if possible
- Take photos and videos without unlocking your phone
- Removing fingerprint unlock and Face ID (but still enabling a passcode with minimum of six digits)
Remember: you should never share photos where protestors are clearly identifiable. Blur faces, tattoos, or other identifying features to protect their privacy and keep them from being targeted by people unsympathetic to the cause.
If you’re protesting, you should know your rights. Check out these videos from the ACLU on how to keep yourself and your devices safe.
Support local and national activists.
In addition to splitting a donation between these national and statewide groups, support other local groups calling for justice, sign on to Color of Change’s platform of structural demands or the NAACP’s ‘We Are Done Dying’ Campaign‘ to support reforms to criminal justice, economic, health, and voting policy.
Support Black-owned businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. If you live in Boston, check out this list of Black-owned businesses to support.
Take time for self care.
The images and videos we’re seeing online and on the news can be traumatic, especially for Black folks who’ve experienced police violence. Here’s a list of things you can do to care for yourself.
Mental health and self care is essential to organizing for change. View the Healing Justice and Action Toolkits from Black Lives Matter here.
If you’re an ally, educate yourself.
Many organizations have compiled anti-racist resources like this one from Ibram X. Kendi. Add some anti-racist literature to your reading list this summer.