There are many things I’m rapidly learning this week, but one that has stuck with me from the very beginning is this: this Black rage is justifiable. It is, and has been, a natural emotional response to repetitive trauma brought on by the violent design of our system. A system where the authoritative response (i.e. police right now) to white rage is to offer protection and patience, while any form of Black activity is met with continual brutality and aggravation.
And it is a system that I, and many other non-Black people, benefit from and often uphold in little ways, from saying not all cops are bad to staying silent.
The journey of internalizing this reality can be paralyzing because the more you learn, the more helpless you can feel, especially when you still need to participate in this system to live. But that’s also what makes our helplessness, which often translates into outrage and desire to act, so unproductive because Black people have lived this way for 300 years. They don’t need uneducated, non-Black anger. All it leaves them with is the burden of directionless emotions.
But I know it’s awkward to get over that initial emotional hump. So here’s two steps I found helpful in the earlier days of my personal anti-racist work: 1. understanding that my feeling of helplessness was actually a mix of guilt and vulnerability 2. redistributing my comforts.
And what comfort looks like right now is strict and personal for everyone. We’re in a pandemic, after all, but I know a lot of you out there are baking bread — so the question is: Will you share it? The bread, literally, or metaphorically: Will you share what got you that bread? Are you willing to rearrange your safety net, your time, skills, energy, or money, so it catches Black people too?
Not just during this time but also for aftercare, when the news cycle is over and the aftermath of systemic racism continues.
This resource is specifically about giving Black communities and individuals money, right now and in the long term. If you’re looking for information on anti-racist education and protests, visit this Black Lives Matters Ways You Can Help page.
“If white people are not willing to redistribute the wealth they’ve accumulated through whiteness, provide other resources to Black folks that they’ve accumulated through whiteness, and take a literal bullet to stop police from murdering us,” writes Da’Shaun Harrison for Wear Your Voice, “they are not doing enough.”
If you’re not white, here’s another way of reading it: “If you’re a beneficiary of systemic racism,” Dale Murphy tweeted this week, “then you will not be able to dismantle it at no cost to yourself. You will have to put yourself at risk. It might not always result in being physically attacked, but it will require you to make yourself vulnerable.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 73 percent of Black American adults say they don’t have emergency funds, and 48 percent say they’re unable to pay the bills. I’m not saying that feeling less financially secure is the same as experiencing systemic racism, but I believe it’s all connected because our capitalist system has claimed we can all “bootstrap our way up.” Consciously donating money is my way of remembering what a lie that is. It’s a literal reminder that dismantling systemic racism must cost me — at least until I learn how to shift my other comforts, whatever they may be.
Tell them to redistribute their wealth, not just to trending organizations but also directly to Black people.
There’s still a pandemic going on, and many people who have protested will likely need to self-quarantine for 2 weeks, either after the protests or when they start experiencing symptoms. You can help ease their stress by donating money toward the security of hot meals, grocery delivery, rent money, or other medical needs.
Support Black women
This thread by @iconickbeauty highlights Black women, especially Black trans women, lesbians, bi women, nonbinary lesbians, disabled women, single mothers, and women sex workers. @whorenaments on Twitter reminds us that Black trans women are especially at risk at protests because, if they are arrested, they’ll be sent to men’s jails.
Support youth fighting for their lives
For a continuously growing list, @fadumo has a threadof youths who are on the front lines taking care of others with PPE, food, and first aid.
Support Black people who are staying at home
Black people who didn’t attend a protest (which is not hypocritical, by the way, because 1. It’s not our place to measure, 2. We’re in a pandemic, 3. They may be immunocompromised / have a preexisting condition, 4. They might have already protested in 2016 and, well…) deserve our help and care, too, especially for the trauma the media is putting them through.
This thread by @radioheadass has Black accounts letting us know where we can send them money for self-care.
This thread by @RyukosGokuUni highlights Black families and individuals who have been hit hard by COVID-19, are experiencing medical emergencies, or are grieving for a family member. If you see that a GoFundMe has been fully funded, choose another one.
Remember, #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd is not just about Floyd. It’s about all Black lives that are continually lost due to systematic oppression. Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee…
Black journalists frequently put their lives at a higher risk to report their stories and do not get the same pay or resources in return for their mental health.
If recent news has swayed you, donate to this GoFundMe by Sonia Weiser, which helps Black journalists access therapy. (Note: This GoFundMe closes and opens for donations based on funding.)
You can also donate to HealHaus, a wellness studio that focuses on holistic healing for Black people to access therapy and wellness events. Or The Loveland Foundation, which offers four different ways to donate and help Black women access therapy.
Black businesses are often more than establishments in their neighborhoods — they’re cornerstones of their communities.
To support existing Black businesses and make sure they have enough capital to survive the pandemic and stay running, look at this list by @jadealycebod. You can also find a variety of skin care, art, and home goods in this thread by @skinclasshero.
…and Black restaurants
Bookmark these spreadsheets and threads of Black-owned restaurants in various cities and counties:
- Los Angeles restaurants, complied by @provoloned
- Bay Area restaurants, complied by @hooleil
- New York restaurants, complied by @hannahgoldfield
- Philadelphia-area restaurants, complied by @KaeLaniSays
This linktree by @earthly_tommo also links to Twitter threads for different cities and states. But another example of food as care is @spiritbirdsie’s movement to offer free meals to Black people in LA. She is currently taking donations on Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal. You can donate here.
For areas not listed, there has always been Google.
…and Black creators
This thread by Cora Harrington lists more than 20 Black illustrators, video creators, writers, and mental health advocates. Patreon works as a monthly contribution, and you can access a range of content based on the tier you decide to pay. If you’re strapped for cash, supporting via Patreon is a great option because many start at tiers of $1 to $2 per month.
Consider making a monthly donation to one of the organizations or funds on this comprehensive list, which includes bail funds and legal help by city and ways to split amongst multiple cities.
Bail fund organizations work to help get people who can’t afford bail released from jail sooner. This is part of larger work to dismantle the current system that profits off poor Black and brown communities and pull them out of the cycle of poverty and jail time.
If funds are an issue (and you’re at a place where your Black friends and neighbors don’t have to validate you for your anti-racism), consider how you can provide a sense of security for them through physical and emotional safe spaces. A good place to start is this zine: 26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets.
It offers ways to help, such as being a point of contact during a protest or using your skills, whether artistic or technological, to help spread awareness. You can also learn how to create a mutual aid network for Black protestors with the goal of getting food and essentials to them.
Be sure that your energy is giving, not taking. For example, focus on affirming and gentle language to help Black people decompress after they encounter a round of traumatic media news, spend time on the streets, or get a nerve-wracking phone call. There’s a lot of gaslighting out there, so avoid having them explain, through retelling or education, the situation. Remind them they’re not alone and you’re on their side.
On your own time, read up on anti-racism
It’s important to understand police brutality in the context of Black Lives Matter and interrogate your biases around criminality and violence.
People like to talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when it comes to understanding health, but they don’t talk about what the hierarchy is built on. Well, it’s money. Money buys meals. Money pays the rent. Money brings security.
Money is an exchange for goods, and Black people have created so many goods, especially alternative forms of care outside capitalism that capitalism quickly swallowed up and regurgitated via exploitative labor that they did not get paid for. The least I can do is pay them now so they have one less thing to stress about.
It is, to me, money they are long overdue for.
But I also understand that money can be tight, so if money is a security you have no means of sharing, then ask yourself: What else makes you feel secure? What can you give up that shifts your comfort zone and leaves you vulnerable so Black lives won’t be?
Christal Yuen is a senior editor at Greatist, covering all things beauty and wellness. Find her musing about wellness on Twitter.