No matter how much time passes, our work is never finished. Fighting racial injustice is a lifetime movement—not just a moment on social media or a single protest in a city. It takes a long time to completely restructure the way a society is run, but there are plenty of ways to help regardless of your financial situation. If you’ve been wanting to get involved in the fight for justice, but don’t have much cash to donate, you can still contribute with these 10 free ways to support Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizations.
Whether you’ve already donated and want to find more ways to support the Black community, or can’t afford to give monetarily but still want to help, consider the 10 free ideas below. There might even be some ways to fight against racial injustice you never even thought of—which is exactly why we created this compact list. It’s easy to feel frustrated and stuck, sure that nothing we do can make a difference. Try and push past that feeling, though, because there really are so many ways you can contribute to the Black community.
To help you get started—and keep you from feeling stuck—we rounded up 10 ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement for free. If you can’t donate money, donate your time. If you live in a state that has had a lot of racial injustice, contact your representatives. Educate yourself (and never stop), listen to others and do what you can. Plenty of activists have relied on action, planning and education rather than money. And while monetary donations do help—and you should give if you can—you don’t have to spend money in order to make real change. Keep fighting and don’t give up. We’ve still got a long way to go.
1. Sign Petitions & Contact Representatives
Whether it’s emailing, calling and texting your local representatives demanding change or signing petitions that can help enact those changes, letting our leaders know needs to be addressed in the country’s legislation is a great way to protest without leaving your home. Even if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone or protesting in person, you can still keep this country’s leaders accountable thanks to today’s technology. You can search by zip code to find who to contact in the House of Representatives Directory and the United States Senate Directory. If you want to go ahead and sign some petitions, too, there are plenty available. Consider signing one of the options that the Black Lives Matter site has pulled together or the #WeAreDoneDying petition from the NAACP.
2. Attend Peaceful Protests
If you’re able to leave your home and join a peaceful protest, do it. So many changes in American have been started due to people rising up and demanding equality and justice, and attending a protest is a way fight for change and become a part of history. Make sure you take safety precautions—like wearing a mask, bringing water and knowing what to do if police intervene—before you head out.
3. Volunteer For Black-Led Organizations
Odds are, wherever you live, there’s a Black-led organization that could use your help. If you can’t donate monetarily, donate your time. Call around your local area and ask Black-led organizations how you can assist them. Make yourself available to show up, and don’t make it about you. Don’t volunteer to gain brownie points with those around you. Focus on what the Black community needs.
4. Stream This Video
So many people and Youtube channels are creating videos that give back through ad revenue. When you stream videos like the one above, you’re helping donate money to the Black Lives Matter movement. There are many of this type of video out there, so make sure you read the description to see where the money from ads is going. You can keep these videos on in the background while you work or watch Netflix, and still give back to BLM.
5. Begin An Open Dialogue
While it might be hard to open up a dialogue about racial injustice with your family and friends, do it anyway. Having hard conversations is important—and often instrumental—in changing minds. Maybe your uncle hasn’t been told any statistics about police brutality, or perhaps your friend group didn’t know they were appropriating Black culture. Calling out the ways our loved ones—and ourselves—contribute to passive racism is a great (and free) starting point in dismantling a racist society.
6. Follow Black-Owned Businesses & Black Voices
Diversify your Instagram and Twitter feeds by following Black-owned businesses and Black voices. If all you see when you log onto social media are photos and opinions of white people, consider it a wake up call. Do a little research and follow Black influencers, creatives and activists—then promote and share their pages and words! Use your platform to lift up the Black community.
7. Educate Yourself
Read books on racial injustice, articles about protests and statistics on police brutality. Take the time to actually sit down and educate yourself on what it means to be anti-racist. Netflix and Hulu even have sections dedicated to Black stories right now, so you can learn while you watch films and television shows. Most importantly, don’t ever stop trying to learn about racial injustice. Make sure you continue to do research and listen to new voices. You can never know everything, so there’s always more to learn.
8. Share Useful Information On Social Media
Share useful information on your social media platforms—but be thoughtful about it. Try not to share graphic videos or stories that might harm the mental health of the Black community or other POC. Focus on sharing genuinely helpful sources, facts and links—like places to donate or petitions to sign. You can also use your platform to share the words and thoughts of those in the Black community, and give their voices a larger audience.
9. Just Listen
Sometimes, it helps to shut our mouths and just listen. Listen to what the Black community is saying. Listen to how your Black friends feel. Listen to the outcry of a community that’s been battling since the formation of this country. Before you take action, make sure you’ve really listened and heard what the Black community needs—and not what you think they need.
Of course, the leaders in our country are the ones who—in most cases—make the decisions. Make sure that you vote for those who will put racial justice in the forefront of their campaigns. 2020 is a presidential election year, but there are also local elections and primaries happening all over the United States. You can use the list of state primary elections to find out when you can get out and vote this year. Make your voice count.