How to Support the Struggle Against Police Brutality

Here’s what you can do to support protests against police brutality. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

On Monday, a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck until his body went limp. The assault was caught on video. Floyd, 46, gasped that he could not breathe, but Chauvin did not let up, and Floyd died from his injuries in police custody. It was the third in a string of similar deaths to make its way into national headlines this month: In March, police in Louisville, Kentucky, burst into Breonna Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night. They shot the 26-year-old eight times, killing her in her own home. And in February, two white men in a pickup truck gunned down Ahmaud Arberyim电竞官网- while he jogged through their Georgia neighborhood. The pair admitted to fatally shooting Arbery, but were only arrested for his murder in May.

It’s an unfortunately familiar pattern in the United States; this week, anger has boiled over. Minneapolis has seen massive protests over the past few days, while demonstrators across the country have gathered to demand immediate action to stop racist policing. Amid an ongoing pandemic, gathering to support one another carries unique risk, although for many, the calculation comes down to which danger is more immediate: the coronavirus, or police brutalityim电竞官网-. With that in mind, here’s what you can do to safely support protests right now.

Participate in actions around Breonna Taylor’s birthday.

Breonna Taylor would’ve been 27 years old on Friday. Although her birthday has now passed, here are a few things you can do to honor her memory.

im电竞官网-The writer Cate Young for Breonna’s birthday, including a to send birthday cards to the Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, the LMPD, Mayor Greg Fischer, and Governor Andy Beshear (addresses ). She suggested participants demand prosecution of the officers involved in Taylor’s killing: Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove. Young also participants to “flood social media with love and remembrance for Breonna. Art, music, poetry, anything you can think of.” Tag posts #SayHerName and #BirthdayForBreonna, and of course, include Breonna Taylor in the caption.

im电竞官网-Again, Breonna’s birthday was Friday, but the officers in her case still haven’t been charged, so you might still consider contacting Kentucky leaders. Take a look at the list of demands on , curated by Taylor’s family. By signing the petition, you can signal your support of the Taylor family’s request that Fischer and the City Council take stock of systemic bias and overuse of force within the city’s police department. You can also call or email the mayor’s office, telling Fischer to ensure charges are brought against the officers — has instructions on exactly what to say — and while you’re signing petitions, you might also consider this one at , which makes additional asks that Taylor’s family be paid damages, and that Congress convene a special session to ban “no-knock” warrants, which allowed the police to barrel into Taylor’s apartment.

im电竞官网-On the subject of no-knock warrants: Mayor Fischer has no-knock warrants in Louisville. The Louisville Metro Council’s public safety committee has legislation their use, but you live in Oregon or Florida, no-knock warrants are legal in your state. Maybe also consider supporting the , which is currently working to get them banned in Taylor’s state.

im电竞官网-There’s also a for Taylor’s family, which will help cover their legal costs, make up for some missed work, and generally offer extra support. If you have the means to diversify your donations, consider the , which is currently helping bail out arrested protestors and works to counteract cash bail policies that keep people — disproportionately, people of color — in jail, even without charges.

Demand police accountability from your legislators.

Make ending police brutality a litmus test for your political support. — which is also accepting donations — has a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing, cash bail, and much more. Familiarize yourself with laws in your area, and contact your representatives — at the local, state, and national level — to press them for their plans on ending discrimination in law enforcement.

im电竞官网-If you’d like to support accountability in the Minneapolis Police Department specifically, — a Minneapolis organization devoted to reallocating the city’s money away from the police department and toward “community-led safety initiatives,” to which you can also donate — has that asks the city council to defund the police force, freeing up resources to promote the safety and health of the city’s marginalized communities.

You could also research how much of your city’s budget goes toward its police force, and demand your local lawmaker move to cut that spending and reallocate it towards other crucial areas, like housing, education, and public health. Divest-invest initiatives are underway, for instance, in , , and — visit their websites and get involved. They have information on which lawmakers to contact, as well as sample scripts of what you might say.

Make a donation.

If you have money to spare right now, consider making a donation, however small it might seem to you. As you make decisions about where to send money, consider our guide on how to make sure you’re donating effectively. The , the , the , and have recently begun asking donors to redirect their funds to other non-profits amid an outpouring of support: check to make sure your organization of choice is still soliciting donations beforehand.

Pilar Weiss — director of the — says that donating to local, grassroots formations is potentially the most impactful way to prioritize funds. Larger, national organizations tend to attract more resources, so it’s worth doing research into who’s operating in your community. “A lot of times the groups that need the most support don’t have fancy website and don’t have a communications team,” she explains. Talk to friends, families, houses of worship to figure out who is working on the issues you’d like to address, and then ask those people what they need.

Direct aid for victims’ families:

im电竞官网-• George Floyd’s family has started a to cover funeral and burial costs; counseling services; legal fees; and continued care for his children. There’s also a to provide for his 6-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, and a to support “peace and healing” for Darnella Frazier, the woman who filmed Floyd’s death.

im电竞官网-• Another is raising money for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, donations to which will similarly fund the family’s legal battle.

• There’s a for Breonna Taylor’s family, to help with legal fees and offer extra support.

• There’s a for David McAtee’s mother and family: McAtee was fatally shot just after midnight on June 1, after police officers and National Guard members fired into a crowd of people who were not taking part in the evening’s protests.

Bail funds: ActBlue has a page that will let you split your donation between , or if you’d like to focus your donation directly, here are some options.

• , a nonprofit that aims to mitigate incarceration rates through bail reform.

• The also has a directory of community bail funds to which you can donate, along with a COVID-19 rapid response fund.

• Another list of bail funds is available , and of bail funds by city.

Support for protesters:

• A for black youth activists in Minneapolis is raising money to buy gas masks for demonstrators who’ve faced tear gas during protests.

• is raising money for physical resources, bail, and medical care for black, transgender protesters, which will be redistributed to black, trans-led organizations “in the event these funds don’t need to be used.”

• The , which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.

im电竞官网-• is a non-profit law firm based in Minneapolis, offering legal defense, educational, and advocacy services.

• , a black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

im电竞官网-• The , an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that provides education and training in black and brown communities, set up a for Minneapolis protestors.

Organizations working against mass-incarceration and police abuse:

• is an initiative to end discriminatory policing in New York, helping to educate people on their rights and document police abuse.

• works to educate white people about anti-racism and organizes actions to support the fight for racial justice and undermine white supremacy.

• , which operates a crisis hotline where people can report abuse; offers legal, medical, and psychological resource referrals; and engages in political action against police brutality.

im电竞官网-• aims to keep the city from constructing new jails, and to instead divert funds that currently go toward the police and incarceration toward housing, ending homelessness, mental health, and other community support systems.

Community support:

• (Mobile Outreach and Outdoor Drop-In) is an initiative of the in Minneapolis, providing immediate response and resources for people currently without shelter.

im电竞官网-• is gathering donations for small businesses and non-profits on Lake Street in Minneapolis, to help with the clean-up effort, as is the .

im电竞官网-• combats food insecurity in black trans and gender-nonconforming communities. It set up two funds — the , for trans men, and the , for trans women — to help cover the costs of mental health therapy sessions with licensed black therapists. You can donate money , and learn about donating services by following the links above.

• Mutual aid funds are a good place to send community support amid a pandemic. Find more info on where to look .

• , an organization founded by Stacey Abrams that aims to end voter suppression and equalize voting rights and access for fairer elections.

Join a protest, if you feel you can do so safely.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, or if you have been exposed, or if you live with or regularly come in contact people who are at particularly high risk of contracting the virus, the best thing to do is to isolate yourself. And while it is generally true that we should continue to keep our distance from others right now, the desire to show up for your community and your loved ones is understandable. For many people, police brutality poses an immediate risk to their health and well-being, and potentially also a fatal one.

So, if you decide to participate in a local protest, wear a mask. Bring hand sanitizer, and if you can, maybe pack a few extra water bottles, for yourself and for others who might need them. Try to maintain as much distance from others as possible, and not to touch anyone else if you can. Keeping in mind that the coronavirus appears to spread primarily through droplets expelled when people talk and shout and sneeze and cough, do your best to keep your mouth covered, and to refrain from chanting if you find yourself in close quarters with others. Check out our guide to protesting safely; our tips on what to do if you’re exposed to tear gas; and this .

Offer resources to protestors and affected communities in your area.

im电竞官网-As protests flared around the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last weekend, participants water, food, and stoops to sit on during the demonstration. If you have the means, you might consider picking up some extra bottles of water, food, masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies ahead of protests in your area. Providing these basics is one way to help support the cause, even if you don’t feel like you can safely join in yourself.

im电竞官网-Or, you could pick up extra groceries, household supplies — detergent, paper products, diapers, baby food, menstrual hygiene products, cleaning products, first-aid equipment — PPE, and find a donation point in your area. For example: In Minneapolis, where public transit has closed and many stores have been damaged, food pantries are in need of donations. has a list; is gathering supplies and looking for volunteers; or you can . also has information on supply drop-offs and donation options in the Twin Cities.

Look into donation efforts in your city, and if you have a car, consider volunteering to drop off supplies to people in need. Ask yourself: “What do you have available?” Weiss suggests. “Is it money, is it resources, is it connections? Sometimes it can be these really small things, like, do you have meeting space you can donate to somebody? Can you be a driver for somebody?” Donating doesn’t always have to mean money.

Help with a clean-up effort.

im电竞官网-You can also help by supporting businesses owned by people of color in areas where they’ve been damaged. In Minneapolis, events started over the weekend — the launched last weekend, for example, and has information on Lake Street clean-up initiatives and grocery drop-offs — and will be ongoing. Volunteers will need shovels, trash bags, brooms, gloves, water, and whatever other supplies they can contribute. Things like plywood may also be useful.

Educate yourself, educate others — particularly if you are white.

Take the time to learn how systemic racism operates in this country, particularly if you are a white person. Indeed, among the best things white people can do is to take the time to educate themselves on the experience of being black in America — here are some suggestions if you’re looking for a starting point — and start talking to other white people.

“One of the challenges is, white people want to call people of color and say, ‘What am I supposed to do,’ which puts a tremendous burden on people of color,” Carla Wallace, a co-founder of , tells the Cut. “Our work is to move other white people.”

im电竞官网-Anti-racism demands that we identify the hierarchies and power structures that have always awarded privilege to white people, and look at them honestly. developed a with Color of Change, and also has tips for calling people into conversations in a manner that doesn’t prompt defensiveness. You hear someone griping about the riots and violence at certain protests? Talk to them about the despair, the pain, and the anger at the center, and . You hear someone wonder what privilege a broke white person has? Talk to them about what it’s like to not have to worry about your personal safety while moving through your day: jogging down a residential street, or walking home from a convenience store. But, Wallace recommends, exercise empathy over the urge to reproach.

im电竞官网-“Unless we get more white people to end white silence, our silence will always be used by those in power to not make the changes that are needed. The majority of white people in this country are still on the side of business as usual,” Wallace says. “If 10,000 white people showed up tomorrow on the steps of Louisville’s City Hall, you can bet the mayor would fire these police officers who killed Breonna Taylor. …We have to win a significant number to stand with black, brown, and indigenous communities for the justice that we all need in this country.”

If you have kids, talk to them.

Although parents may find these conversations painful and complicated, it’s important about what’s happening right now — even if your kids are young. White parents of white children can help their children understand racial injustice, and the concept of privilege, early on. Wallace points to for suggestions on how to approach these conversations and this — intended for white and racially privileged parents — for tailoring those conversations to the child’s age. The National Museum of African American History & Culture has a , and has an expansive guide to teaching materials and resources.

This article has been updated.

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How to Support the Struggle Against Police Brutality