Celebrating Juneteenth - Ways to Help

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 22:23

Juneteenth is an opportunity to learn, act, and give back to your community. What can we, as individuals, do to help fight social injustice and participate in the growing movement for change? There are several ways to contribute to the fight against systemic racism and police brutality: participating in and/or organizing local protests, donating money to worthy organizations and causes, contacting government officials demanding that they address systemic issues, spreading the word on social media, and more. We can all do our part in ways both large and small to make a difference. Here are just a few.

One of the best and most straightforward ways to make a difference is through monetary donations to organizations and causes. Give what you can, but don't feel obligated if you don't have the means or the bandwidth.

Donate directly to the families of victims of police violence:

Donate to organizations fighting against injustice, systemic racism, and advocating for civil rights for Black Americans:

ActBlue's Community Forms tool lets you search for and set up custom your own list of orgs to donate to. AB's site will automatically divide up your donation among the orgs you select, or you can customize how much goes to each org:

Not everyone can contribute financially. There are still plenty of other opportunities to help:

Educating yourself
Learning about issues facing the Black community is vital for understanding why racism and injustice exist, and for finding ways to combat them.

  • A Twitter thread detailing books and other material that non-Black persons can read to learn about issues facing Black Americans: How to be a better ally
  • New York Times Magazine's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project is a multimedia effort encompassing feature writing, podcasts, and more that examines the legacy and impact of Black Americans, beginning with the first enslaved Africans to land in America in 1619: The 1619 Project

Signing petitions
Signing petitions is a fast, free way to generate public support for causes. You can sign Change.org petitions to add to the chorus of voices demanding justice:

Contacting government officials
Writing your government officials at all levels -- local, state, and federal -- is another way to make your voice be heard and demand that government works for its citizens. The Resistbot web app can help you write a letter and contact government officials in minutes:

Using social media
Social media can be a powerful tool to amplify and spread the word about causes in lieu of donating. Just remember to do your due diligence to avoid spreading misleading information. Here are some resources for learning about different types of misinformation and ensuring the veracity of your posts:

Other ways to help
There are many worthy organizations out there that need other types of help, especially given the current pandemic. The coming weeks and months will only exacerbate already dire food security and shelter issues for many. Look local, the people who need the most help are typically right next door. Donate to your local food bank, give blood, etc. And above all, if you're going to be out there, please practice safe habits and wear masks whenever possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is still rampant, and we all need to do our part to flatten the curve.

Taking care of yourself
Amid the threat of the pandemic, exposed examples of systemic racism, and continuing incidents of police brutality across the nation, it's easy to feel burned out, frustrated, and overall negative about the state of America and the world at large. Taking care of your mental health and checking in on others is vital. Making positive contributions and acting in a ways that help others is another way to fight these negative feelings. As Fred Rogers said, in times of great tragedy: "If you look for the helpers, you'll know that there's hope."