In the past several weeks we have seen such powerful Black-led organizing work happening all across the country. If you haven’t yet found your organizing home, we want to take a moment to offer an open door: you are wanted in this work. If you’re wondering how to engage in a meaningful way, we’ve put together 4 steps you can take right now to be here and stay here in this fight for Black feminist future building.
Solidarity Action Plan in 4 Steps
Step 1: Donate.
Today, with a greater need and opportunity to make change, we need resources. The movement (which is essentially a collection of grassroots groups working in a strongly coordinated fashion) needs money for policy research and advocacy, legal and bail fees, hiring organizers, coordinating rallies, communications materials, healing, political education for members, security, federal, state, and local campaign work and more. We recommend the following Black-led, Black-centered groups who are doing a lot of brilliant work in this moment:
- Movement for Black Lives (National)
- National Bail Out (National)
- People’s Advocacy Institute (Jackson, MS)
- Highlander Research and Education Center (Jefferson County, TN)
- Black Visions Collective (Minneapolis, MN)
- Southerners on New Ground (North Carolina, ATL, and across the South)
- Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- Anti Police-Terror Project (Oakland, CA)
- Freedom Inc. (Madison, WI)
- Three Point Strategies (great electoral work)
“Let this moment radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” – Mariame Kaba
Step 2: Join Up.
Join an organization and follow their lead. Good organizations make requests of their members that fit within a larger strategy for social change. Join a Black-led, Black-centered organization or an ally group that will keep you looped into action steps and work that needs support. They will also provide leadership on how to interpret everything from what is really going on locally to the nuances of elected officials’ positions, and the differences between good reform from bad reform. Organizations to join (or to sign up for their listserv) include:
- Movement for Black Lives
- Working Families Party
- Color of Change
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
- White People for Black Lives
“Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small.)” – adrienne maree brown
Step 3: Organize.
One of the scarier, and most important, things you can do in this moment is to have hard conversations with people you love. Organizing is hyper-local in its essence. If you are just starting out, begin with a virtual happy hour with 10 of your friends. Read an article together, prepare some questions, and facilitate a monthly discussion on Zoom. If you have the skillset and capacity, organize a vigil or a #DefundThePolice community walk. If you are part of an existing social group, charitable organization, or school PTA, organize a creative way for those individuals to engage in a conversation or art project about the police terror in Black communities.
“Abolition is about abolishing the conditions under which prison became the solution to problems, rather than abolishing the buildings we call prisons.” – Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Step 4: Learn more about abolition and structural, systemic racism.
All of us (even those who have personal, direct, daily experience with police violence) need to be actively committed to deepening our knowledge about what the American criminal punishment system is and how it operates, and better understanding the capitalist, white suprematist historical context to which it is connected. A good start for reading:
- Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police (Mariame Kaba, NYT, 2020)
- Are Prisons Obsolete? (Angela Y. Davis, 2003)
- The Appeal (a great online publication with very responsible content on criminal justice)
- Abolishing Prisons with Mariame Kaba (Podcast: Why is This Happening? With Chris Hays, 2019)
- Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind (Rachel Kushner, NYT, 2019)
- The New Jim Crow(Michelle Alexander, 2010)
- What Does Police Abolition Mean? (Boston Review, Derecka Purnell, 2017)
- Feminism and the (Trans)gender Entrapment of Gender Nonconforming Prisoners (Julia Oparah, 2012)