Millions of Americans have been protesting against police brutality and institutional racism and discrimination against African-Americans over the past month. Peaceful demonstrations in New York have been active for weeks, and numerous charities and resources have appeared on the internet to help concerned citizens financially support and show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sometimes you need to choose your battles to generate a radical change, and we hope that some of these initiatives will help you find a place where you can use your voice, whether you are a teacher, an artist, a mentor, a lawyer, a communicator, a filmmaker, a writer, an organizer, a student, or a housekeeper. This guide focuses on civil rights groups; we will focus on opportunities for educators and artists in an upcoming companion entry. Find your strength and use it consistently, thoughtfully, and loud.
WITNESS helps people document state violence, push for accountability, and implement structural change. During the current protests over the murder of George Floyd, the group has created a guide on how to shoot and share footage of police violence safely, ethically, and effectively. You can also read more recommendations in this interview where we talked with Ambika Samarthya-Howard, Head of Communications at WITNESS.
“Video is a tool to show violence. But more importantly, it’s a tool to show patterns. It forces the broader public to pay attention, and authority to change. We have seen commitments from local and state leaders and we encourage more people around the world to break down military and police power.”
CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK
CANY provides a platform that gives a voice to people inside prisons, and helps shape the public debate by advocating for accountability in the criminal justice system. The organization provides resources for their families and friends, safety recommendations during coronavirus, and space for prisoners to share their experiences. Their areas of focus are health, dignity, and legitimacy.
CANY welcomes interns and volunteers on a rolling basis throughout the year. These are some tangible ways you can support them:
- Research (e.g. data entry, data analysis).
- Administration (e.g. intake, database management).
- Translation (e.g. converting our documents into Spanish).
- Social Media (e.g. updating platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
- Professional writing (e.g. creating Word documents, press releases, white papers)
- Outreach (e.g. working with vulnerable populations, creating relationships with organizations)
Amnesty International is one of the world’s oldest and most notable human rights advocacy organizations, and has compiled lists of tips to help keep protestors safe while fighting for the human rights of others.
- Stay informed about facial recognition technology and be ready to write petitions asking your leaders to ban it. Research has consistently found that facial recognition technology systems process some faces more accurately than others, depending on key characteristics including skin color, ethnicity and gender, creating inequities in both surveilling and policing. As protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing spur a ripple effect of change around the country, and around the world, Amnesty International is calling for a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by police.
- How to protest safely: Everyone has the right to protest and Amnesty international provides detailed tips and information to protect yourself. If you are currently marching, planning to, or have friends and family going out to the streets to support the ongoing protests, share the recommendations below, and read the guide “The Right to Protest”.
NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
The NYCLU is an organization with a longstanding commitment to fight for justice, freedom, civil liberties, civil rights and equality, and their activists help turn their fundamental values into meaningful change.
- The NYCLU makes it easy to send messages to elected officials in New York through the “Take Action” link on their website. Of particular interest to civil rights protestors include campaigns like Protect Trans New Yorkers of Color and Demand Oversight of NYPD Spy Tools.
- You can also contribute if you have some of these skills:
Photography and/or Videography
Teaching and Tutoring
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