6 ways to protest white supremacy today
Listen to a bell hooks lecture, donate to ACLU, and practice some self-care. Here’s how you can help weaken and dismantle white power groups.
This article was originally published by i-D US.
The tragic events in Charlottesville this weekend illustrate just how dangerous and real the rise of white nationalist groups is, especially for people of colour and their allies. On Saturday, a group of white supremacists assembled on the campus of the University of Virginia. They were protesting the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate army general, from public grounds. Things quickly turned violent and chaos descended when a white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19.
Moments like these are crushing. But it's important not to feel hopeless. As young people in 2017, we can combat hate and bigotry in more ways than ever before. We can go on YouTube and listen to cultural theorists like bell hooks and Cornel West share progressive forms of thinking. We can donate to organisations like Southern Poverty Center, which focuses on protecting civil rights and helps fund the legal prosecution of hate groups and hate crimes. And, thanks to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, social justice activists across the nation are coming together to stage healing and empowering demonstrations.
Here are six ways you can fight racism today.
Black Lives Matter demonstrations have been taking place across the country since Saturday and are expected to continue through the week. On Monday and Tuesday evening, starting at 5pm, activists in New York will protest outside Trump Tower to condemn the violence that took place in Charlottesville. Many feel as if the president has not condemned racist groups harshly enough.
2. Educate Yourself
You don't have to drown in pages of academia to become well-versed in American race politics today. Here are some accessible reads for understanding and contextualising what happened this weekend.
On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris posted a powerful letter on Facebook explaining the centuries of racism that lie behind the tragedies in Charlottesville. "To some Americans, this was shocking and scary," the California senator wrote."They asked themselves how could this happen — in the United States of America — in 2017? To other Americans, what they know is, Charlottesville exemplifies an undeniable reality that lurks just beneath the surface in this nation we love."
The New York Times published this helpful guide to understanding what did (and didn't) take place at Charlottesville.
There's plenty of viewing and listening material, too. Over the past two years the New School has posted a series of engaging discussions centred around race and identity led by bell hooks on YouTube. The dialogues feature Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Transparent creator Jill Soloway.
Want to explore the history of American race politics and not sure where to start? Here is a list of important works on the topic, including memoirs, history books, and seminal novels.
If you are looking to help victims in Charlottesville right now, you can donate to this GoFundMe, which has already raised over $150,000. The funds will go towards paying the medical expenses of the 19 people injured on Saturday. It was started by Michael Patterson, a member of the Democratic Socialist of America Party, after he found out two fellow DSA members were hurt. You can also donate to organisations like the ACLU and Southern Law Poverty Center that help monitor and prosecute extremist groups and protect the civil rights of minorities.
Whether it's through Twitter, community boards, or joining IRL advocacy groups, exchanging ideas with fellow activists is important. It can help provide a sense of solidarity and a support system in testing times like this.
Looking to educate those around you? The organisation Daring Discussions provides a toolkit for navigating touchy conversation topics. It gives useful and oft-forgotten pieces of advice like, "Be aware of the privilege you hold in a conversation."
If you are looking for a place to ask thorny questions or share experiences, visit the Black Lives Matter Reddit to learn how to become a better advocate and ally.
5. Practice Self-Care
As Audre Lorde famously said, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." Advocating for justice can take a lot out of you, so remember to take care of yourself too. Doing simple things like taking a long bubble bath, hanging out with friends, or going for run can help your mind and soul recharge for tomorrow's battle. Need some encouragement? Follow @everdaycarebot on Twitter for little morale boosts like, "Put all of your dirty dishes in the sink — you don't have to wash them yet, just collect them in one place."
White supremacists desire a world in which minorities are no longer in positions of power, making educating youth of colour even more vital. Even more so given that the dropout rate for black high school students is 6.5 percent and the rate for Latino students is 9.2 percent — compared to 4.6 percent for white students. If you're interested in tutoring and mentorship, check out programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The non-profit helps at-risk youth of colour acquire the tools they need to reach a successful, empowering future..