Like so many of you, Autostraddle’s staff spent most of yesterday anxiously awaiting the St. Louis County grand jury decision on Darren Wilson, and most of last night in a state of devastated disbelief as we learned that the jury chose not to indict the man who murdered unarmed black teenager Michael Brown earlier this summer. After the announcement, we watched as people across the nation gathered to protest the continued devaluation of black lives in America, and President Obama equivocated from The White House.
A lot of us woke up feeling helpless and heartbroken, but even more determined to never, ever, ever give up the fight. So, in that spirit, we have compiled a list of ways that you can help the people of Ferguson who refuse to be silenced as they spread the message that Black Lives Matter.
— RT (@RT_com) November 25, 2014
Generally and most importantly, especially if you are a white person, follow the lead of the black people of Ferguson and black organizers elsewhere; listen to find out what’s needed rather than making assumptions.
And, with that in mind, here are some practical ways to get involved:
+ Quartz published a really excellent list back in August called “12 things white people can do now because Ferguson.” It is a great launching point for understanding America’s radicalized racial history and the way propagandized narratives perpetuate our very broken system.
+ Tolerance.org is compiling a growing list of resources for teachers “who want to help their students understand what happened in Ferguson, contextualize its place in our nation’s history and empower young people to work for a more just, peaceful world.” You can also use the resources to talk to the non-student kids in your life.
+ Read the hard stuff. Audio and written transcripts of Darren Wilson’s testimony are available, and it will make you sick to read much of what he said, but it is important to know the whole truth of what we’re dealing with.
+ Ferguson Movement Rapid Giving has compiled an extensive list of grassroots organizations that will feel the impact right now by monetary donations. These include: Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Organization for Black Struggle, Lost Voices, and Freedom Fighters.
+ The social media activist organization Help or Hush has been vital in breaking news on the ground from Ferguson for months.
+ Ferguson schools were closed today, but the Ferguson Library is committed to staying open and continuing to be a safe space for both children and adults. They are accepting donations of time, money and books.
+ The National Lawyers Guild has been present on the front lines since August and plans to continue to support Ferguson protestors. Donations go toward court fees, housing and travel for Legal Observers.
+ Many teachers and schools in Ferguson are raising funds for supplies through Donors Choose.
+ You can also donate directly to Anti-State STL for bail and legal fees for protestors who have been arrested.
— Inside Higher Ed (@insidehighered) November 25, 2014
Use Your Voice
+ Don’t sit silently at your Thanksgiving table while your Fox News-watching relatives spread racist rhetoric. Speak truth into your interactions with people who refuse to get it.
+ Use Twitter, Facebook, Tumbr, Instagram, Storify, etc. to share updates, calls to action, poignant observations, and your own thoughts and feelings about the atrocities of racism in the United States.
+ Show up at one of the protests happening all around the world today. Check out a full list on Ferguson National Response’s Tumblr.
+ Remember the longterm goal. Let me quote our own Hannah Hodson:
But there are many who want to make clear that these protests are not all about the indictment of Darren Wilson. The protests are about changing American politics and practices from the bottom-up. Not just electing Black and brown people to office, but eradicating the school-to-prison pipeline and creating real opportunities for systematically oppressed people.
If you have more ideas for ways to help, please share them in the comments.
Editor’s note: When I was putting together this post yesterday, I was compiling new resources with a list of resources Rachel Kincaid made a few months ago when Brown was first murdered, which is why I quoted her twice in this post — but in doing so, I made the mistake of silencing people of color by not asking for input from our QPOC writers or pulling from our extensive archives where QPOC have written some powerful, heartbreaking, revelatory things about Ferguson. I am deeply sorry. I am sickened by my own white privilege blinders. I promise to be more vigilant going forward.