The Sit List: 5 things you can do to support the Black community

Want to help the Black Lives Matter cause but don’t know how? Donate (we suggest where), sign petitions that matter, educate yourself and listen to the insights of brilliant Black poets.

Brianna Noble rides Dapper Dan to the anti-police brutality protest in downtown Oakland on May 29, 2020. Photo: Pete Rosos

The crimes against Black people in this country have paralyzed many of us who are unsure of how to help our Black friends, family and neighbors. This week’s Sit List is dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement and will provide concrete actions that you can take to show that violence against Black people will not be tolerated and to help move towards the end goal of dismantling systemic racism. Together we will build a more equitable society.

DONATE It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. One way to exercise your power to help Black people is to show your financial support. This mutual aid document compiled by Fordham University students lists the various ways you can give. You can donate to fundraisers like the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund and the Official Justice for Breonna Taylor Memorial Fund, individual and direct funds that go to organizations like the Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund, mutual aid funds like this one for Minneapolis public housing residents, bail out and jail support funds, and monies for supplies and utilities for protestors. This is the time to give widely and generously.

SIGN + CONTACT Another way to take active steps to make sure Black Lives Matter is by signing petitions and contacting representatives to make sure Black voices are heard. This google doc created by @yanliism from Twitter lists various petitions and accompanying funds where you can sign and donate. You can sign multiple petitions to grant justice to George Floyd. You can sign a petition and make a call to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased down, shot, and killed by two white supremacists while he was out for a jog in his neighborhood. The document also provides email templates for messages to your representatives and text codes if you’d rather sign a petition via your phone: you can text FLOYD to 55156 to sign Color of Change’s Petition.

EDUCATE YOURSELF Now is a good opportunity to engage in anti-racism work. This document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein titled “Anti-racism resources for white people” provides a list of helpful and respectful ways to begin this important journey. It lists books, podcasts, articles, and social media accounts that can help raise anti-racist children like an article by Nefertiti Austin for PBS Kids on teaching your kids about Black history and a link to the Coretta Scott King Book Award winners, which has books on race for preschoolers to teens. You can also subscribe to podcasts like NPR’s Code Switch and Intersectionality Matters! by activist Kimberlé Crenshaw and read books like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. The more you know, the more powerful of an ally you can become.

BLACK HISTORY It’s always a good idea to take a formal class to solidify the anti-racism work you’ve been doing. In this Open Yale course, Professor Jonathan Holloway teaches about the African American experience in the U.S. from 1863 to the present. You’ll learn about the development of the Civil Rights Movement, the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction, and the theory and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, among others. You’ll learn about the momentum that has led to the Black Lives Matter movement today. Free and can be started anytime.

BLACK LIT Black writers have given us the gift of beautiful and often heartrending literature throughout the years. In the Bay Area Book Fest’s Writer to Writer Series, Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown and National Book Award winner Nikky Finney will have a conversation about their reactions to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the police response to the protests and riots, and the power of poetry to capture and express Black life in America. The talk, titled The Beautiful Witness We Bear, is moderated by Ismail Muhammed, the reviews editor for The Believer. Let’s take the time to sit down and listen to the insights of these brilliant Black poets. Free. Program airs on Friday, June 5, 7 p.m.