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Many people have been asking me how they can be supportive. This is a dense question, and the answer varies from person to person. Protesting on the streets isn’t something everyone is able to do. Making monetary contributions to organizations can be prohibitive. If you can do any of these things, great! Do them, and encourage friends and family to do the same. Supporting Black lives together will make an exponential difference.
There are other means to support, too, that don’t involve protests and donations. Reading, signing petitions, self-educating, and listening are imperative and instrumental ways.
I’ve curated a hearty list for this week's weekend roundup.
Do your part. We are all responsible for what happens next.
Places you can donate to
Philly Bail Fund
The Philly Bail Fund notes: “a person who cannot afford to pay bail will be detained in a city jail for an average of 100 days before appearing before a judge to have their case heard.” With bail, that person would remain free over that same period of time. Those 100 days of detainment can lead to psychological and economic harm. With protests happening and arrests being made of innocent people, this fund is vital. Read more about it on their website.
If you want to go even further, the Philly Bail Fund tweeted a thread including many other organizations to support.
Philadelphia Chapter of Black Lives Matter
The Philly chapter officially launched five years ago, and there’s still plenty of work to do. Support them here if you can, and consider the global chapter or find one for your city if you’re living outside of Philadelphia.
Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project
All the work we’re doing now is going to be instrumental in our youth’s futures. The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) is a youth-led movement to end the practice of trying and incarcerating young people as adults and works with incarcerated youths to express themselves creatively and develop them as leaders. Check them out and see some of the work their community has created, too.
People’s Paper Company
The women-led, women-focused advocacy project out of North Philadelphia amplifies women’s voices in criminal justice and reentry services. Find out more online.
Amistad Law Project
This project advocates for the recognition of the human rights for all and believes in the intersection of movements against systemic oppression. Offer them support if you can.
Pennsylvania Prison Society
Well over 200 years old, the Society is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to sensible and humane criminal justice. The nonprofit functions as an unbiased source for information and resources for those incarcerated, their families, and more. Learn more about them online.
Petitions you can sign
Defund the Police
In addition to all the budget cuts recently proposed by Mayor Jim Kenney, including a $9 million cut for libraries, $12 million for homeless services, $13 million for Parks and Recreation, an $8 million cut for public health, and the elimination of the $4 million arts and culture budget (which directly impacts BSR in a major way), the city is also looking at a $14 million budget increase for the Philadelphia Police Department. Consider emailing your officials. There’s a curated list on #PhillyWeRise.
Decommission and replace the Frank Rizzo mural
With the Rizzo statue removed from the steps of the Municipal Services Building, it’s time to take down the mural in the Italian Market. The former mayor was a notorious member of the PPD, with a legacy filled with racism, bigotry, misogyny, and beyond. This petition, updated from a 2017 petition, suggests the mural be replaced by the beloved Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot Gritty. It’s got my vote; does it have yours?
Podcasts you can listen to
It surprises me how many people I come across (not only white folks but Black people and POC as well) who aren’t familiar with the term code switching. To be honest, it’s something I only discovered about six years ago, and it was via this podcast. It’s sparked the journey of unlearning for me, and this NPR podcast is definitely worth a subscribe.
This podcast curates stories exploring human experience and American society, unpacks the crisis of American democracy, and elevates the voices of marginalized people.
If things are going to change for Black people in America, non-Black people have to stand up and be responsible for their Black American siblings. Intersectionality can be a difficult topic (trust me, it’s one of the themes at the heart of my fiction writing and I find it problematic at times the deeper I dig in), but Intersectionality Matters! does a great job of inviting and including diverse voices, perspectives, and stories.
Books you can read, and where to get them
For getting a deeper look into the politics of it all, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin are great starts.
For those looking to be better allies, consider White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde.
For contemporary perspective, read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis, and When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele.
For fiction that hits close to home these days, read Kindred by Octavia Butler, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, and How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. If you want to contemplate more on the importance of Black voices in fiction and literature, consider Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim.
Streams of the week:
Marc Lamont Hill Q&A
The author, BET host, and Temple University professor teams up with Uncle Bobbie’s on Sunday, June 7, at 6pm for a Q&A on Instagram Live. He’ll be answering questions in the comments, and I’m sure many of us have lots on our mind. Tune in via Uncle Bobbie’s Instagram.
Do the Right Thing
Without question, it’s worth revisiting Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. In fact, I’d say it’s necessary right now. The film turns 31 this year, and I wrote a retrospective of it last year. It’s eerily relevant and familiar, with a climactic conclusion that is strumming heat in some of the discourse around today’s protests. Be warned: this film does not hold back and may be triggering for some.
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