Practical ways to be an ally to the Black community

What happened to George Floyd and what has continued to happen to countless others in the Black community is nothing less than terrible, horrifying, and unacceptable. Something has to change and simply posting on social media is not enough. The Black community needs support now more than ever, and this is not a time to stay silent. It is necessary to use your voice to lift them up so they can be heard.

Understand your privilege.

Start off by acknowledging the fact that you will never understand what it’s like to be Black or to be a person of color, and the hardships you’ve experienced in your life cannot be compared to theirs. It doesn’t mean you haven’t had struggles in your life, but the color of your skin has not been a reason for your struggles.

Educate yourself.

This is one of the most important things you can do as an ally. Your Black friends, peers, coworkers, and neighbors are tired of having to explain themselves. Take your own time to understand the issues marginalized groups are facing; read books and watch videos and movies that deal with racism in more ways than one.

Books to read

  1. “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo

  2. “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

  3. “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower” by Brittany Cooper

  4. “An African American and Latinx History of the United States” by Paul Oritz

  5. “The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority” by Ellen D. Wu

  6. “Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving

  7. “This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror” by Moustafa Bayoumi

  8. “The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy” by Andrea Flynn, Susan R. Holmberg, Dorian T. Warren, and Felicia J Wong

  9. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum

  10. “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism” by Safiya Umoja Noble

Series and documentaries to watch on Netflix

  1. “Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap”

  2. “Time: The Kalief Browder Story”

  3. “When They See Us”

  4. “13th”

  5. “Who Killed Malcolm X”

  6. “Dear White People”

  7. “Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story”

  8. “LA 92”

  9. “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”

  10. “Copwatch”

Other movies to watch:

  1. “The Hate U Give”

  2. “12 Years a Slave”

  3. “Just Mercy”

  4. “Malcolm X”

  5. “I Am Not Your Negro”

  6. “Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland”

  7. “Selma”

  8. “Whose Streets”

  9. “The House I Live In”

  10. “Let the Fire Burn”

Sign petitions.

It takes less than 30 seconds to sign your name on a petition and is by far one of the easiest ways to show your support.

  1. Justice For George Floyd

  2. National Action Against Police Brutality

  3. Ban the use of rubber bullets for crowd control

  4. Justice for Jennifer Jeffley

  5. Fire Jared Campell

  6. Dismiss the charges on Marshae Jones and charge the one who shot her and her unborn baby

  7. Julius Jones is innocent. Don’t let him be executed by the state of Oklahoma.

  8. Justice for Breonna Taylor

  9. Justice For Emerald Black

  10. Pardon Black Woman Imprisoned for Voting

  11. Justice For Alejandro Vargas Martinez

  12. Justice For Tete Gulley

  13. Willie Simmons has served 38 years for a $9 robbery


  15. Drop All Charges Against Incarcerated Trafficking Survivor Chrystul Kizer!

  16. Justice for Young Uwa

  17. Justice for Shukri Abdi

  18. Justice for Dion Johnson

  19. Justice For Ahmuad Arbery

  20. Justice for Christopher Josey

  21. Consequences for excessive force used on Quentin Suttles

  22. Justice for Cameron Green

  23. Justice For Joāo Pedro

  24. Free Chaffin Darnel Y

  25. Hands Up Act

  26. Justice For Tony McDade

  27. Justice for David McAtee

  28. Justice for Ashton Dickson

  29. Justice for Sean 

  30. Reopen Sandra Bland’s Case

Donate to organizations.

If you have the financial means, give what you can to support those who need it most and remember that every dollar counts.

  1. George Floyd Memorial Fund

  2. Reclaim the Block

  3. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

  4. Black Lives Matter

  5. Black Visions Collective

  6. Color of Change

  7. ACLU of Minnesota

  8. Dignity and Power Now

  9. The Orka Project

  10. The Loveland Foundation

  11. National Bail Fund Network

  12. National Police Accountability Project

  13. Know Your Rights Camp

  14. Campaign Zero

  15. Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund

Contact state and local leaders.

Calling, texting, and sending emails to local and state government officials may be one of the most effective and direct ways to demand legislative change. If you have no idea what to say, Black Lives Matter provides a list of resources such as phone numbers, scripts, and pre-written email templates to follow. The Action Pac also provides a walk-through of what to say when calling to demand justice for George FloydBreonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

Support Black-owned businesses.

Supporting Black-owned businesses helps support the owner(s), but it also helps support the community they’re a part of. Check out these Black-owned businesses around ColumbusCleavlandCincinnati and Toledo.

Keep learning, and keep listening.

Just because BLM may stop trending on social media, doesn’t mean the conversations and support should stop either. Continue to learn about these issues and stay active as an ally. It’s especially important to remember not to speak over the voices that need to be heard, but instead use your platforms, resources and privilege to amplify the voices of the Black community, because this fight is far from over.

Credit goes to

Shaelee Haaf | Editor-in-Chief   Updated

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