How to Take Action With The #BLM Movement

favorites, how to, messy thoughts

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.

In the wake of the unjust deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, something needs to be said here. More importantly, these are not isolated incidents and so many unjust killings do not reach mass consciousness because nobody was there to hit record.  Regardless of your political views or your stance on this issue, a black man should not be shot five times at a routine traffic stop. A black man should not be shot four times when he is already pinned down by two police officers. 500+ people should not be killed by cops this year alone. There is major reform that needs to be done to ensure that our brothers and sisters of this nation are not consistently targeted and prejudged for their skin color when it comes interactions with law enforcement.

Here are the facts.

Every 7 hours cops kill an American Citizen

Only 1% of cops are indicted for their killings

Of people killed by cops in 2015, 50% were white and 26% were black. While this stat may look like there is no targeting of black lives, remember that the US is composed of 65% whites and 12% blacks, so at the end of it all, blacks are shot at twice the rate of whites.

Blacks are 30% more likely to be pulled over

Blacks are arrested at twice the rate of whites

The black & hispanic population, who make up only 30% of the population, make up half of the incarcerated population


 

As an ally, I cannot speak about the pain, about the fear of a community. I can only look at my friends, hear their concerns about their brothers, about their fathers. I can only look to my neighbors and see how they hang their heads a little lower in the wake of these incidents. I can only attend protests and chant along with my community and hear their voices. Because I can never fully understand, I have never had to fear as my brother walked out the door to go to school or stayed out late with friends until 1 in the morning. I never had to watch my father leave the door and fear that he might get pulled over while driving  and never come home. I can only have empathy in this situation and say to POC that I am here for whatever you need me for, please lead the way, you have my support.

I would like to comment about what is going on in social media. First of all, it is amazing, encouraged, to express and voice and your concern, and let your community know that you stand with people of color in this trying time. While we support people of color and ask our lawmakers for a better system to indict cops who wrongfully kill on the job, we cannot become a house divided.

I see social media turning into an us vs them complex. I stand with my black brothers & sisters in the same way I stand with the men and women who honor the pledge to serve and protect our country. Generalizations are going to get us nowhere. Not all cops are bad. I have pointed out on my twitter that the problem is in system reform. We need to find a way to get cops properly prosecuted for illegal activities done on the job, like any other citizen in any other job would be. We need to find ways to reform the process of hiring police so that selfless warriors of justice are the ones who get to don the blue uniform. We can do this through more rigorous background checks, implicit bias tests, psychoanalysis, and required training hours dedicated towards education in empathy and intersectional communities. Most importantly, we need to approach the situation with empathy and love.

Scrolling through timelines, watching videos, and reading article after article is a great starting point. Twitter especially is a great place to get ground coverage, as people who attend the rallies and who are directly involved in the issue can be heard. I would highly recommend following Deray Mckesson, who is currently running for mayor of Baltimore and has been a social justice warrior during this time in addition to retweeting ample coverage for both sides. I have found amazing resources through his feed.

While scrolling through twitter, practice critical thinking. So much false information is being spread right now, and things can easily be taken out of context. Before you jump to any conclusions, double, triple check with multiple news sources and eyewitness accounts. Same goes with media outlets, they have their own biases. Be wary of information you spread and information you believe.

Once you properly educate yourself, it’s time to act. On Thursday I attended a Black Lives Matter march with three of my friends. We started at the City Hall in downtown Los Angeles and walked 5 miles around downtown, uniting together and chanting, all the while smiling, hugging each other, and dancing. Overall, it lifted the community’s spirits. The rally was organized by a group of 3 students, none over the age of 17- you don’t have to be older to make a difference. At the end, somebody came forward and told us through his megaphone “This can’t be a one time thing. This has to be weekly. Black lives matter today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. We need consistency if we want to see change.” Systems are meant to withstand our momentary outrage, but they cannot withstand our organization and our constant urge for reform.

Here is what you can do.

 

How to Get Involved with this Issue

Educate Yourself

Follow the news. Listen to politician’s & activist’s speeches. Follow both sides of the issue. Read Between the World & Me. Learn about systematic oppression. Most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS. If you don’t understand, ask.

Vote

Not only for president, but on bills and for your local politicians. Action and reform starts at home and in your community. Get involved in local politics and learn what your mayors, governors, and representatives stand for.

Contact Lawmakers & Politicians

Email lawmakers.  Click here to find your local Congressman. 

more specifically…

Click here to email Louisiana to ask for justice for the death of Alton Sterling

Click here to email Minnesota to ask for justice for the death of Philando Castile

This may sound silly, but in addition to emailing them you can tweet them and comment on their Instagrams! Most local politicians don’t have a big social media following so your voice is easier to be heard on those platforms. When we protested against fracking, over 400 people tweeted at one time to our mayor that we wanted to ban local fracking. You can bet that he or his social media team heard us.

& More specifically, demand that legislators create reform to address police violence. Campaign Zero is a GREAT resource.

Donate

Donate to Philando Castile’s family

Donate to Alton Stering’s kids college tuition 

Donate to black communities & the Black Lives Matter movement

Attend Protests

Check social media and find your Black Lives Matter chapter here

By searching “Black Lives Matter + your city” you can find social media handles that are tweeting about current events and where to attend. Once you attend one you can get more information about future events. Be consistent in your protesting. Commit to once a month, once a week, or whenever you can. We can’t just fight for freedom when it is trending, we have to fight consistently.

Raise the Voices of POC

Retweet personal anecdotes of POC. Attend rallies and let them know they are heard. Let your community know that you stand with POC.

Use Your Phone

If you see something suspicious or unjust, pull out your phone and hit record. If you don’t have your phone on you but see somebody being harassed by the police, make it very apparent that you are attentive to the situation and are a witness.

If you are pulled over by a police officer, know your rights. You have every right to record the encounter.

Discuss & Share

Not only on social media but at community meetings, between your friends and your family. Share this article with someone. Share your stance and opinion. Make sure that you enter into every discussion with empathy and respect above all else.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom

It is our duty to win

We must love each other and support each other

We have nothing to lose but our chains

22 Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for spreading awareness and empowering people on this issue.

    • Natalie says

      Though you may think this is you trying to show your support for all races, it actually just shows that people are ill informed to the cause of the movement. It’s not about hatred towards other races when we say black lives matter, or even the hatred to cops. It’s about a community of people who are tired of the injustices black lives face through systematic racism and unnecessary violence that is killing countless amounts of African American lives. The movement is not the problem.

      • I totally agree! I didn’t say anything about the movement! It’s a huge concern! All lives matter, people, animals, plants, our environment… There is so much going on and I think this movement tackling this issue is very important, being a dark skinned girl living in a white community I have experienced racism first hand. It’s a mentality, that’s what needs to change. When society stops stereotyping people, that’s when we will see change. Blacks are thugs, Muslims are terrorists… The list goes on

  2. You guys jumping to a conclusion that I am “ill informed” annoys me… I’m sorry my comment wasn’t really appropriate in context to the article. I think Emma is so educated and so intelligent, I appreciate all the work she does. And this article is amazingly written

  3. Pingback: Dark Skin Is Not A Crime – Girlhood Magazine

  4. Pingback: We need to make noise – The Falling Fairie

  5. kayla'skonfetti says

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a moment in time but a fully-fledged movement, and we all need to jump on board. While the campaign is obviously American-based, it is imperative that Australians educate themselves on global issues and recognise the importance of spreading awareness of injustice, even though we are not affected directly. Speaking openly about ‘Black Lives Matter’ will open further conversation for social issues a little closer to home, like the ‘Bring Them Home’ movement referring to the current refuge problem Australia is facing. Make a difference and have a read of this inspirational article by ‘The Messy Heads.’

  6. Pingback: How to Take Action With The #BLM Movement – Sarah Alia Barth

  7. Just some thoughts that this wonderful post and movement inspired:

    Because of human instinct, the majority of people will care more about the problems and injustices that the majority is facing. But right now, the minority of black people is facing a much worse injustice. So let’s focus on this cruelty, this racism, and this injustice, and let’s fight it, ally against it, and make some positive change.

    Quick side note on “all lives matter” :
    “All lives matter” can be interpreted to mean “erasing the vulnerability of and dehumanization of black people” (Carla Shedd, Columbia University). And saying it is, intentionally or unintentionally, distracting people from and weakening the true meaning and power of this movement.
    At the same time it is completely, totally, and 100% true to say “all lives matter,” because they do. All people suffer from injustice. Police unjustly kill white people, and asian people, and women, and men, and people from all ethnicities, genders, religions, sexualities, and social constructs. But in the wake of these horrible attacks and deaths of black people, it has become apparent that right now, black people are the victims of proportionately more injustice, more cruelty, more unfounded oppression, and more racism than other minorities or the majority. The black lives matter movement is metaphorically fighting to dampen the roaring fire on a black house, and pointing out that all houses matter in this situation is like telling the firefighters to instead put out the little candle burning in the house next door.

    This is a movement. A movement to fight against racism and injustice toward black people.
    Considering the broader political happenings recently, this outburst of violence against blacks and the subsequent social awareness of it seems to be part of a trend– people judging, stereotyping, oppressing, and going so far as killing people based on their categorization, whether it be their race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexuality. It is racism. It is stereotypes. It is Donald Trump at his finest. It is anti-Muslim sentiment. It is violence. It is mass shootings. It is the fuel of wars. It is grown from fear, hate, anger, jealousy, and pain, and it has created a vicious cycle of constant negative energy, evil action, and violence. It is pretty simple, actually. It is hate on hate; it is fighting with your enemy’s weapons.

    We can’t make generalizations. Not all black people are victims of injustice. Not all police officers are racist. Not all police officers kill innocent people. We can’t make whole categories of people our enemy.
    We can’t pick sides. We can’t even be sides. There is only one side: humanity. There are so many categories, groups, classifications, and flimsy boundaries between people, but they are all so stereotyped and meaningless. There are bad people everywhere. There are good people everywhere. When will we learn that these labels are fake?

    Fight for justice, and equality, and goodness, and peace. But fight with the weapons of your own message.
    Fight against cruelty, and against injustice, and against racism, and against violence. But spread your message by example.

  8. Andi says

    I have a question guyssss (maybe a silly one). You can’t vote on laws until you’re 18 right?? I’m 17 and just missing this presidential election and I’m so sad, I want to vote!

  9. Anonymous says

    This movement is getting too out of hand. Maybe blacks wouldn’t be treated this way if they obeyed the law. They are responsible for 80% of homicides in America. Maybe our nation should be focusing on poverty levels and education so blacks, hispanics, etc. don’t grow up in a dark environment to be faced with these decisions. I am strong for ALL lives matter. It’s not the police authority that is causing these problems, it’s them; the way they grow up being limited to what others don’t have. So instead of ranting about black lives, think of how it is with other races that aren’t as fortunate and start disregarding the laws because of their lifestyle.

    • this is the most racist disgusting thing I’ve read in a while. do the world a favor and log off the web if you’re uneducated and hateful.

  10. Pingback: Let’s Talk Sunday- Stories the media isn’t reporting | Twenty One and Counting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *