25+ Ways to Advocate For Racial Justice Locally

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There is a lot to digest in the news these days, and with everything going on following the murder of George Floyd, while we try to stay out of national politics as a hyperlocal lifestyle media website, we know there are certain conversations, while potentially uncomfortable, cannot just be ignored. Feeling helpless? Us too. After all, as Desmond Tutu has said, “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” So to help do our part locally, here are 25 ways to be an advocate for social and racial justice locally, no matter who you are or where you live. We’re adding to the list as we go, so if you have more ideas, please send our way.

Please note: Some of these ideas were originally posted here.

racial justice local advocacy

 
1. Donate and subscribe to organizations that focus on helping POC, such as the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, Trans Women of Color Collective, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, A New Way of Life, and Dream Defenders.

2. Support businesses of color. Find them on WeBuyBlack, The Black Wallet, and Official Black Wall Street. Here is a list of local entrepreneurs and ladies we admire that we’ve compiled.

3. Don’t buy from companies that use prison labor. Get the list here.

4. Google whether your local police department currently outfits all on-duty police officers with a body-worn camera and requires that the body-worn camera be turned on immediately when officers respond to a police call. If they don’t, write to your city or town government representative and police chief to advocate for it. The racial make-up of your town doesn’t matter.

5. Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation training. Write to your city or town government representative and police chief and advocate for it.

6. Call or write to state legislators to require racial impact statements be required for all criminal justice bills. Most states already require fiscal and environmental impact statements for certain legislation. Racial impact statements evaluate if a bill may create or exacerbate racial disparities should the bill become law. Check out the status of your state’s legislation surrounding these statements here.

7. Watch 13th. Better yet, get a group of friends together {virtually} and watch 13th via a Netflix Party. Watch here.

8. Find your local SURJ group {Showing Up for Racial Justice} and advocate for racial justice. If they’re not already doing it locally, start it. Search for a local chapter here.

9. Support your local domestic abuse shelter. This fact sheet is a good resource. Women Rising and York Street Project are great resources locally.

10. Watch The House I Live In. Full trailer here.

11. Read books from your local library or buy from your local bookstore on racial and social justice. Some titles to start with can be found here. If you have children and want school-aged books, click here. {PS. Check out what you can find from the Hoboken Library here.}

See More: 50 Things to Do at Home So You’re Never Bored

12. Support black authors — read the books on this list.

13. Join or start a Daughters of Abraham book club in your Church, mosque, or synagogue.

14. Find and join a local “white space” to learn more about and talk about the conscious and unconscious biases there are. If there’s not a group in your area, start one – more info here.

15. Research your local prosecutors. Prosecutors have a lot of power to give fair sentences or Draconian ones, influence a judge’s decision to set bail or not, etc.

16. Read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Better yet, read it like a book club would — read, then discuss with friends also reading it.

17. Buy books, choose TV shows and movies, and toys that show people from different races, religions, and countries.

18. A wise former teacher once said, “The question isn’t: Was the act racist or not? The question is: How much racism was in play?” So maybe racism was 3% of the motivation or 30% or 95%. Interrogate the question “How much racism was in play?” as you think about an incident. Share this idea with the people in your life when they ask, “Was that racist?”

19. Know American history. Do some background research on America’s racial history — what you learn might surprise you. Try websites like History.com  or our very own Hoboken Historical Museum.

20. Donate to groups that are working to put women of color into elected office, to get out the vote, and to restore voting rights to disenfranchised voters.

Read More: 19 Ways to Help First Responders in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

21. Write to your college/university about implementing all or some of these diversity strategies that effectively promote racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity on campus. Write to the public universities your taxpayer dollars support about implementing these diversity strategies.

22. Read people’s experiences through the hashtag #realizediwasblack. Also can be viewed on Twitter here. Share with others.

23. Find out how slavery, the Civil War, and the Jim Crow era are being taught in your local school. Advocate that history is taught correctly and certain parts are not skipped over or barely mentioned. Advocate that many voices be used in the study of history. Is the school teaching about post-Civil War convict leasing, the parent to our current mass incarceration system? Talking about slavery alone, is your school showing images such as Gordon’s scourged back, a slave ship hold, and an enslaved nurse holding her young master? Are explorers, scientists, politicians, etc who are POC discussed? Are male and female authors who are POC on reading lists?

24. Listen without ego and defensiveness to people of color. Truly listen.

25. Don’t be silent about that racist joke. Say something.

26. Support housing justice organizations such as Fair Share Housing.

27. Find ways to support the BLM movement — including events around the country. Click here for more info as well as a map of where protests are happening.

28. Find ways to support black {trans} women and LGBT+ people, and look into ways to support organization/bail funds. Click here for a full list of resources.

 

 

Have an addition? We’ll add it. Just let us know.

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Written by:

Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. With deep entrepreneurial roots in Hudson County — as her grandparents owned textile businesses on Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen dating back to the 50s — she started the site as a Hoboken resident to discover the amazing things happening in the area. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her two pups, or watching Bravo TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


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