Protesting is one of the most effective ways to participate in social activism, but it’s by no means the only way. Below is a short list of things you can do to show your support, other than protesting.
1. Sign petitions: This is probably the easiest to do. Simply googling “Black Lives Matter petitions” will give you plenty of places to show your support. On most sites, once you make an account, it takes just a few seconds to sign a petition. Of course, because this is the easiest way to show your support, it is also the least effective. Petitions are easy for officials to ignore, and sometimes never even garner their attention. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sign them, it just means you should be doing other things as well.
2. Donate: Not everyone has the ability to donate, and that’s okay. But if you can, you should do some research about where you can give. There are organizations that seek to capitalize on social justice movements, and a quick Google search might help you make sure your money is going to the right place. It’s also good to consider giving to local groups, which might not be getting as much support as the national ones.
3. Make calls/emails to officials: This is more effective than signing petitions. Your call or email goes directly to the official, or at least their staff, and your voice will be heard even if the official does nothing about it. You can find lists of local and national representatives online, and if you don’t know what to say, some organizations even have scripts.
4. Buy from Black-owned businesses: This is less direct than the other actions on this list, but it’s a great way to support the black community, especially during this pandemic. A quick Google search will give you a list of black-owned businesses near you. Remember that this action is only effective if you do it often, so whenever you have the opportunity, take it.
5. Educate yourself: This is another indirect, ongoing action. Educating yourself and staying informed is an important step in becoming an anti-racist, especially for white people who are less likely to be well-informed on racial issues. There are many different ways to educate yourself, depending on what you prefer and what you have time for. There are plenty of lists online that can help you figure out what’s best for you.
6. Educate others: Like any other action on this list, the more effort you put into this action, the greater effect it will have. The easiest way to educate others is by using whatever social media platforms you have to post social activism content, such as news stories or historical information. The more difficult way to educate others is by having conversations. This isn’t easy and it will probably take several tries, but it’s very important and one of the best ways to change minds.
7. Voting: If you’re eighteen or older, it’s important to get registered and vote this November and every election afterwards. Voting is a great and easy way to make your voice heard and help the right people get into office. You can register to vote online in Nebraska. The deadline for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 16.
8. Volunteering: This is a great way to support social activism organizations. You might have to look a bit harder online to find opportunities to volunteer, but most nonprofits need all the help they can get. Donations certainly help, but groups still need people to put those donations to use.
None of these actions are going to “solve racism” all on their own. Only through sustained, consistent action over the course of many years will change occur. It won’t be easy, but there’s a large community of support, and with help from people like you, it will continue to grow.