A while back, we discussed protests and police brutality here on Voyage of the Mind, with the hope of making this a more supportive and welcoming community. Recently, an activist reached out to thank us for our coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement and to ask for more, specifically pertaining to the support of Black-owned businesses (which we’ll discuss in this post, among other things!). Unfortunately, since the high-water point of anti-racist activity over the summer, mainstream media has stopped major coverage of many issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and ways to support the Black community. I’m back now to discuss the topic further, so that we can touch base with the important issues of civil and racial justice. Without further ado, here are three ways to support the Black community during this time.
1. Educate yourself on the issues of race and racism.
No matter what your heritage or background, tackling the issues of race and racism requires a journey of self-discovery. Luckily, people have been creating resources to help since these discussions began. I’ve read a number of books on race and racism and can offer a few suggestions, but bear in mind that depending on your angle on these discussions not all of these books might prove as helpful to you as they were to me. (Or they might prove more helpful!) If you have a favorite book or other piece of media that discusses race and/or racism in an educational light, feel free to link it in the comments.
Here are a couple books I’ve read that touch on the matter (in no particular order).
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. This book offers an extensive exploration of the development of racial identity, which starts at a young age and is often fueled by societal factors. It also discusses how we can get at talking straight about race and our own racial identities, a very important step toward dismantling racism. As America becomes increasingly multiracial, it’s important to surmount the communication divide between races, and this book offers some advice on this front. A great read that made me think a lot about myself and how I fit into a racially-charged world — I hope it will make you do the same.
- Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by J. Anthony Lukas. I read this book for a course on education. It covers the desegregation of schools in Boston, MA (near my hometown of Medford), throughout the 1970s. The main tactic at hand was busing, and through this book you’ll get to see the problems it created. This is a long read that, in my mind, really gets at the nuances of many of these issues, while also providing readers with a slice of history. A really important book for anyone interested in the educational aspects of race and racism.
2. Donate to organizations that seek to further racial justice and advocate for the Black community.
If this is a cause that’s important to you, invest some money in it. For better or for worse, money makes the world go round and can be a major factor in enacting change, especially over time. Here are a couple well-known and well-established organizations that you can look into:
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) seeks to “ensure the political, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.” The NAACP was founded in 1909, and remains among the largest and most well-known of all civil rights organizations. Learn more about supporting the NAACP here.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) originated in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but later became its own separate organization. LDF works through the American justice system to further its goals of “[expanding] democracy, [eliminating] disparities, and [achieving] racial justice” through litigation, advocacy, and public education. LDF is otherwise known as the legal arm of the civil rights movement, and has played an instrumental role throughout history in shaping the trajectory of civil rights and racial justice in America. Learn more about LDF’s mission and impact here.
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) focuses not only on furthering racial justice, but “dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side” by seeking to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans. Specifically, the ACLU seeks to aid marginalized groups and communities by taking aim at the greatest civil liberties issues of our time. Learn more about the ACLU here.
These are only three organizations you can consider donating to. Note that they’re some of the most well-known civil rights organizations. I haven’t listed many newer, smaller organizations, many of which have sprung up in light of the recent civil strife in America. Many of these organizations and others provide other avenues to support the Black community and issues pertaining to racial and civil justice. I encourage you to do your own research and find organizations that support the racial justice causes you’re most passionate about. If you have a favorite organization, or are a member of an organization, feel free to link the organization in the comments of this post. You can also contact me about a possible outreach post on Voyage of the Mind.
3. Support Black-owned businesses.
In America, economic disparity between the white and Black communities (and other marginalized communities) greatly furthers racial disparity. Supporting Black-owned businesses is one way to take aim at racially-based economic disparity, especially where it comes to entrepreneurship and small business ownership. In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic and our long history of systemic racism have combined to create a storm that has battered Black-owned businesses, causing them to be more adversely affected than other businesses.
Here are a couple lists and directories of Black-owned businesses that could benefit from your support.
- A list of 181 Black-owned businesses in a variety of categories
- An extensive directory of Black-owned businesses
Some additional resources with more ways to support the Black community
These three suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg! Remember that anti-racism doesn’t stop after education or financial support — it’s an ongoing process combining self-discovery and interaction with the world around you. Here are some additional articles and resources.
- An article for white college / higher-education students with some recommendations for how they can support the Black community on campus.
- A more exhaustive list of organizations you might consider donating to from NY Mag.
- An article about how to be a better ally for your Black coworkers, from CNBC.
- A list of books to read on racism and white privilege compiled via collaboration with Black professors and educators by Business Insider.
It’s my hope that this article has helped you explore some ways you can support the Black community. Let me know what you thought in the comments, and let me know what you think we can do to cover these topics more extensively.
Feel free to pass this article on —