This summer, three young adults are interning with the Minnesota Conference UCC to engage other youth in important work and activities. They have launched their own Instagram channel and are helping plan and facilitate online gatherings for youth and young adults. Here’s a look at the amazing work they’ve been doing in recent weeks:
The #blacklivesmatter revolution is in full swing. Even with all 4 cops arrested in the George Floyd case, there is still plenty more work to be done! The police departments need MAJOR reform if there is even a chance to stop systemic racism that has been rooted in this country for centuries. So what can we do?
Step one: Educate yourself. Below are films, books, and websites that have great education tools on this history and current ways in which systemic racism operates in the United States.
- Films/Documentaries: 13th (netflix), When they see us (netflix), Dear white people (netflix), 12 years a slave (netflix), moonlight (netflix), whose streets? (hulu), What happened, Miss Simone? (Netflix), Selma (amazon prime).
- Books: The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, A Terrible Thing To Waste: Environmental Racism And Its Assault On The American Mind by Harriet A. Washington, Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-First Century Challenge to White America By Joseph Barndt (List taken from npr.com).
- Websites: What does ‘defund the police’ mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – explained; Systemic Racism Explained
Step 2: Take action. The BLM movement is not just about one person. It is about every black person that has been killed and hurt by a system claiming to protect and serve everyone. There are still countless black individuals whose murderers have not been brought to justice. Here are a few things that anyone can do to contribute to ending systemic racism in the police system.
- Donate money:
- Campaign zero: Aimed at working on police form to get rid of police and works with a 10-point plan aimed at reducing violence (before donating here, look into the idea of defunding the police department altogether.
- The NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund: uses litigation, advocacy, and public education to work towards racial justice and equality for all Americans
- Color of change: the largest online racial injustice organization.
- Reclaim the Block: a Minneapolis-based organization that is working to move money out of policing and into community-led safety.
- Gas mask fund: providing gas masks for protesters in case of tear gas.
- Support black-owned businesses
- Donate supplies: *Note* This is constantly changing, so please do your own research in this category before donating.
- Follow @mplssouthsideclothingdrive on instagram for updates on where to donate clothing
- North Minneapolis: Recurring grocery pop-up store at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist church at 3859 Fremont Ave North. Drop off and pick up from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Sign up for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through Sign Up Genius to register for what you can bring. Ten volunteers are also needed daily.
- North Minneapolis: Mother’s Love pop-up at 701 West Broadway, supporting new mothers has an urgent need for diapers. Open from noon to 5 p.m.
- Midway: The pop-up food bank Shay Cares on Lexington and Central Avenue continues to collect and serve the neighborhood at the heart of where the St. Paul fires were. found here.
- The Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 436 Roy Street needs non-perishable foods, laundry soap, reusable bags, baby food, formula – including soy formula, and more. Donations drop off from 11 a.m. to 4:30.
- Dickerman Food Distribution is in need of volunteers who can translate English to Hmong, Spanish, Karen, and/or Somali. The center at 1753 University Avenue (near Fairview) is very low on supplies. In need of fresh produce, food, canned goods, diapers – especially sizes 5 and 6, baby Tylenol, vitamins, formula, and toilet paper. Drop is 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Who to email/call
- https://justiceforbreonna.org visit this website on information about who to contact about justice for Breonna taylor.
- Recognize the importance of reparations for slavery in the fight for racial justice, and take action by urging your U.S. House Representative to support a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans. Read more about the R. 40 bill here.
- See where your state is at on taking action to prevent police violence here—plus, you can find your representative and see how they’re voting on the subject.
- Send a message to congress to protect Black voters here, and follow the prompts here to find out who to call and what to say in order to support protections for Black-owned businesses.
- Find your local, county, state, and/or federal representatives and call or email to support criminal justice reform, allocation of taxpayer funds towards community services, and call for civilian oversight of police.
Step 3: Continue the fight. Not everyone has to do everything; that would be extremely hard. However if everyone does what is in their power to help we can make REAL systemic change and STOP the killing of black people at the hands to a “protective” institution. So what else can you do?
- Talk to the people you care about on the subject matter: There is no excuse for racism, and many times it comes from ignorance. Take the time to have difficult conversations with family members and friends.
- To white people: DO NOT put it on Black people to educate you. There are PLENTY of resources out there to educate yourself. It is not a black person’s job to explain to you the racism they have to live with every day. If you feel you don’t understand, I highly encourage you to watch a documentary on the list above, or going online to reliable sources to learn about white privilege, systemic racism, institutional racism, and the BLM movement.
- Use the privilege you have to do good. If you know that you have the power to step in and call someone out who is spreading racist ideology or misinformation, DO IT! We are all in this fight together, and everyone needs to be able to step out of their comfort zone in order to make this movement stronger
- Think about how this connects to church: Ask yourself “Am I doing God’s work?” or “WWJD: What would Jesus do?”
*Note: these are just a few things that you can do. There is so much more information and out on the internet. Please take the time to do some searching for ways that you can help the #blacklivesmatter movement.*