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How to Support the Protests and Fight for Racial Justice

Black Lives Matter
Illustration by Marian Blair

Right now things are difficult, they’re scary, and they’re incredibly painful, but protests that demand change need to happen. Now is the time for police reform, as well as a long, hard look at all of our systems. This national reckoning has been a long time coming. Amidst all this action, however, it can be tough to know what to do and how you can help. Here are some resources and ways to lend your voice, your time, and your money to support the movements for racial justice and police reform.

Resources for protestors

If you’re joining the protests, it’s important to know how to stay safe and to know your rights. Things can happen quickly, and your best bet is to come prepared. Here are a few resources to make sure you go in informed, and ready for whatever might happen.

Right to Protest serves as a repository for resources and guidelines for before, during, and after any protest. You’ll find everything you need to know here, from materials to gather in preparation, to how to film incidents of misconduct, to how to deal with unexpected problems.

The ACLU has also put together comprehensive guidelines for protesting, with how-to’s for organizers and attendees alike, as well as outlining your legal rights if you’re stopped by police, and advice for those looking to photograph or record the events.

The National Resources List is a Google Doc compiling everything from lists of lawyers donating their services to social media tips for protestors to maximize their impact, know their rights, and protest safely and effectively.

How to Protest Safely on outlines tips for what to bring, what to expect, and how to stay safe when you’re out there.

If You’re Planning to Take Part in Protests, Know Your Rights on has two experts—a staff attorney for the ACLU and a professor of government and citizenship from College of William & Mary Law School—covering everything you need to know to legally protect yourself.

How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance has tips on how to make sure you protect your identity and privacy from law enforcement and government tracking.

And if you feel that being out in large groups is too much of a risk, you can also protest from home and still lend your voice to the cause.

Educational resources on racism and racial justice

Talking About Race is a free collection of resources from The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. It includes digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources related to race, with the goal of assisting and encouraging honest dialogues on race and racism. 

Showing Up for Racial Justice is a national network dedicated to working toward racial justice through community organizing, mobilizing, and education. They offer activity guides and phone conferences on topics ranging from political education, racism, white privilege, white supremacy, and white nationalism.

How to Overcome our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them is a TED talk by diversity advocate Verna Myers that examines our subconscious attitudes towards out-groups, advising that we move toward the groups that make us uncomfortable.

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice is a comprehensive list of ways white people can use their privilege for the benefit of minority voices and further the movement towards racial equality.

Resources for White People to Learn and Talk about Race and Racism on Fractured Atlas lists a variety of resources they’ve gathered since their race-based caucusing, including information about the caucuses themselves, anti-racism facilitation resources, and suggestions for further reading.

How to support protestors

Mutual Aid Groups

If you’re looking for more localized, boots-on-the-ground ways to help, seeking out a mutual aid group near you is a great way to get involved. There’s a good chance that there is a group in your neighborhood, and right now many of them are mobilizing to assist protestors and the larger movement in a variety of ways, including organizing and providing supplies. Let’s remember that these same groups also continue their work to assist community members during the COVID-19 crisis, which remains an ongoing issue across the country. Whether it’s volunteering your time or donating, mutual aid networks will get your help where it’s most needed.

Bail Funds

In alliance with the National Bail Fund Network, this database lists fundraising efforts, organized by city and state, across the U.S. Originally designed to minimize incarceration during the COVID-19 crisis, the database is now pivoting to redirect all donated bail funds to free incarcerated protestors. 

NAACP Federal Defense League

The premier legal organization fighting for racial justice, the NAACP’s federal defense league is currently dedicating itself to providing aid and resources during the nationwide protests. Among resources being circulated, you’ll find a list of Jail Support Organizations for protestors taken into custody which you can donate to, as well as a petition demanding justice for George Floyd.

Support the Cities

In partnership with City Joy, Support the Cities is a grassroots campaign to help repair the damages to small businesses and neighborhoods. The good news is that they’re currently overwhelmed with volunteer requests, but they do provide up-to-date opportunities to help out on their Facebook page if you’re still looking to help. They are also accepting donations, which go toward all their efforts to clean up and beautify.

The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

This GoFundMe organized by the brother of George Floyd is meant to secure funding for funeral and burial expenses, mental health and grief counseling, and lodging and travel expenses for court proceedings. A portion of the funding will also go toward the Estate of George Floyd to ensure proper care for his children as well as funding their education.

Other ways to work for racial justice and police reform

Campaign Zero 

Dedicated to wide-ranging police reform, Campaign Zero provides proposed policy solutions including community oversight, limiting the use of force, ending for-profit policing, and methods for tracking the progress of legislation. They are seeking volunteers and donors to help fund their mission.

Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB)

A volunteer-run organization founded in 2000 and based in Minneapolis, MN, CUAPB works to end police brutality in their community through advocacy, political action, and education. They offer a 24-hour hotline to report incidents of police misconduct, and also feature a database for police complaints. They’re currently accepting donations to further their cause, and are always on the lookout for volunteers.

Civic Works

A social platform dedicated to meaningful civic action against police brutality, taking on the task of independently researching cases of police shootings in order to secure justice. They are currently looking for virtual volunteers to aid in a particular case of a fatal police shooting, and are hoping to expand their efforts and adopt additional cases in the future.


That’s just a small sample of ways you can get involved in the movement for racial justice and against police brutality. Be sure to visit The Obama Foundation as well as Black Lives Matter for more resources, tools, and ways to help.