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What’s the difference? Defunding vs. reforming law enforcement

If you’ve been even remotely alive on social media, you’ve probably seen these two phrases: reforming law enforcement and defunding law enforcement.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding what exactly each term means and what it entails.

Reforming law enforcement

Reforming is the stuff that’s kinda been happening. It’s about increasing the budget, instilling more rules such as body cams, anti-bias training, etc.

If you’ve heard of the ZeroCampaign, 8cantwait, then you’ve already heard of reforming. The 8cantwait campaign includes banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation, and the duty to intervene.

Now, while all of these things should be instituted, the question of, “Is it enough? lingers. The city of Los Angeles meets five of these eight requirements.


That Los Angeles.

Human Rights Watch slammed 8cantwait, stating it proposes “minor and ineffectual changes.” Some of this is due to the fact that most of these changes are still under the same discretion as they were before.

The campaign promises that enacting all eight of these changes can eliminate police brutality by 72 percent.

Overall, reform is about keeping the current situation and adding to it in order to affect change. This also includes the idea of community policing, a tactic in which police are closer-knit to the community in which they, well, police.

Defunding law enforcement

The simple answer for defunding is exactly that—to take money away from the police funds. But before you start angrily writing letters, consider this: the operating budget for the NYPD is 5.6 billion dollars.

(Note that this does not include the overall funds NYC allocated to the PD, but a portion specifically for the operating budget. You can read more about it here.)

The argument here is that the money could be better spent in other sectors, such as housing and education. Defunding means removing money and putting it in areas that could help people avoid poverty and crime.

It also means re-investing those funds into marginalized communities via social services, hospitals, markets, etc. This way, there is less reliance and dependency on the police.

If policing continues as is, defunding is a way of combating the systemic racism that the current institution holds. One response to this argument has been about sexual violence. If police are not around to solve these cases and bring justice, then who will?

And yet…

It doesn’t quite look like…

No, it doesn’t look like that is the case here, at least according to experiences of the public.

Perhaps community members, such as social workers or mental health groups, would be better equipped to help survivors.

Abolish…and disband?

Defunding can also be coupled with abolishing the police altogether, although the two are separate. Abolishing the police altogether suggests instead strengthening and calling upon other first-responders for situations.

For example, having social workers and other members in the community itself handle some issues like overdoses, instead of cops.

Abolition is about decriminalizing and finding a new way altogether to help these communities.

Minneapolis has recently announced their plans to do just this via dismantling its police department completely. While there are no definitive announcements of what will take its place, it is a start.

Check your privilege: How to approach BLM if you’re not Black

One way to support Black Lives Matter if you’re not Black is to be an ally. However, being an ally isn’t as simple as retweeting BLM posts or asking your Black friends if they are okay.

If you are white, it is no secret you were born with privilege. If you want to genuinely support BLM, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do. Here’s a guide on how to show your solidarity with the Black community.

A statement isn’t enough; you have to put in the work

Many brands like Pretty Little Thing have published statements regarding Black Lives Matter. However, Black Twitter wasn’t very satisfied. Making a statement doesn’t equal action so they both must coincide.

Two weeks later, PLT posted a pledge to “do better” by stating they will create a diversity board and “create a plan for change.” While creating a diversity board is a step, the question about the recruiting process comes into play.

Will they just hire any Black person to add color to the team? Or will they carefully select someone who can uphold Black representation and be effective?

The point is, doing the work is more than just a plan. It looks more like having an honest representation of Black people, donating to BLM-related causes, using your privilege to help others who don’t have the same opportunities.

Influencer Jackie Aina also shared some thoughts on Pretty Little Thing, Fashion Nova, and Missguided’s approach to standing up for the Black community:

Check your family members/friends

If you’re going to defend Black people in public, do so in private. Failing to check those with racist beliefs is just as bad as being racist.

You don’t have to approach the conversation angrily. Instead, do your research so you can educate.

Instagram user @courtneyahndesign created a lovely guide to white privilege which you can use for points in your approach:


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I’ve had this series idea in my mind for quite a while now…so here it is! As a Korean-American, I can’t speak to the unique experiences of other marginalized groups in the US, but as a fellow minority I empathize with your hardships, acknowledge your struggles, and will continue to amplify the voices of all POC 💕 UPDATE: turning off comments as the amount of conversation here is blowing up my alerts and the amount of mental effort required to keep up with everything has been very straining, as well as the conversation here is quickly turning aggressive and derisive for everyone. Please DM me if you have specific concerns/questions about the series(but please do a google search first)! Please see my repost rules highlight before sharing ✌️ 〰️ #blackhistorymonth #whiteprivilege #privilege #checkyourprivilege #racialequality #illo #illustration #digitalillustration #procreate #illustrator #illustratorsoninstagram #draweveryday #sketchbook #digitalart #drawingoftheday #ladieswhodraw #womenwhodraw #pdxillustrators #illustratorsoninstagram #womensupportingwomen #feminist #designer #womanownedbusiness #portlandartist #womenofillustration #femaleillustrator #femaleartist #womanartist #femaleartists #womenartists

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Slide three notes white people benefit from the oppression of Black people and other groups of color. If you did or didn’t know that, it is important to fully understand it. Next time you see a lack of Black or POC representation in your job, call it out. Help put a Black person on!

Not all chants are for you

White folks, thank you for supporting the Black community at protests.

Before you create that poster or follow along with the chants, realize that not all of them are for you.

It isn’t appropriate to say, “I can’t breathe”, because you’ve most likely haven’t been in that situation or won’t experience it. Black people are subject to get stopped and harassed by the police more than a white person would. Therefore, leave this to the Black community because their skin complexion is already a target.

George Floyd couldn’t breathe on May 25, 2020, and Eric Garner couldn’t on July 27, 2014. There is a long list of Black people that couldn’t breathe, either, in the hands of police officers.

Don’t ask a Black person if they’re “okay.” Of course, they’re not!

Checking in on your Black counterparts is nice and all, but it doesn’t do anything. The Black community has been oppressed for over four hundred years and they are still dealing with the effects today. Instead, give them their space and #PullUpOrShutUp.

The hashtag and challenge were created by beauty CEO Sharon Chuter. Pull Up Or Shut Up is a direct action movement whose goal is to fight for economic opportunities for Black people.

The Instagram account, @pullupforchange, calls on big brands like Adidas to show their support and numbers on how they are contributing to the financial wellness of Black people:

By showing up for the cause, you are saying your support for Black lives goes beyond the internet.

Understand your privilege and know when it’s time to stay shut

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White privilege doesn’t need to be explained here because we all know what that looks like.

It looks like being able to go for a jog without getting killed, serving a significantly lower amount of time for a crime than a Black person would, and seeing people that look like you at work.

When Black people are expressing their feelings about how they are being treated, don’t include your two cents about your own experiences. Everyone measures pain differently, but no pain relates to what Black people have undergone throughout history.

Once again: acknowledge your privilege and don’t compare.

Marches for Caribbeans, Black and Trans lives standing in solidarity

A weekend of rallies and marches throughout Brooklyn and New York City this past weekend has set the city on fire.

Thousands gathered for many different marches for reasons all about the Black Lives Matter movement. On Saturday, groups march for Freedom from Time Square down to City hall in efforts to encourage voting. Another group of roughly ten thousand people gathered and marched for Black Excellence from Grand Army Plaza into Manhattan.

Sunday was a day of Liberation for the Black Trans community coming together in the thousands at Brooklyn Museum in a sea of white to represent solidarity as they protested a silent march into the island of Manhattan.

And just up the road, the Black Caribbean community gathered as they celebrated their uprising and liberation, in support of Black Lives Matter, which gave a Labor Day preview, as the flags of Caribbean countries could be seen and music could be heard in the surrounding area, and people danced in a group of hundreds to thousands of people later in the evening.

We Rally For Justice

As the city was hit with familiar summer weather, primed for day outings am d beach day-cations, forgoing the opportunity many chose to be a part of a much more heated issue that has been an important stepping stone and ongoing need for equal justice, respect, and equity for Black lives here in America, since the inception of America.

As the different groups gathered the message was still the same. Black Lives Matter and they are to be seen, recognized, and most definitely heard. Not a step was wasted in these marches, and voices of organizers and supporters were heard loud and clear.

Freedom March NYC

The Freedom March on Saturday morning was lead by activist and organizer, Chelsea Miller, Columbia alumni, and her 17-year-old protege, Nia White. They were supported by fellow Columbia alum, Ty Holmes, activist Mario Rosser, and Sam White, as well as Plus1Vote founder and activist Saad Amer.

Marching from Times Square down to City Hall, they chanted and had moments of silence for those who have lost their lives to senseless white nationalist violence and police brutality.

The time spent at City Hall was focused around Chelsea’s plan to better Black communities through legislation, also conveying the importance of voting and encouraging others to do the same in their communities.

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My textbook approach to navigating Black history the right way

It wasn’t until I attended “Twitter University” and went to college when I realized: I’m not satisfied with the Black history I’ve been taught.

I’ve learned a lot more on social media (through verification, of course) than I did in over two decades of school. I was born and raised in Washington Heights, NY. The Heights has a large population of Dominicans and it was all I knew.

I remember coming across a few dark-skinned Black students throughout elementary, middle, and high school, but their presence wasn’t very common. I was so engulfed in my Dominican experience that I never considered the rest of the Black history I wasn’t learning.

One thing I blame it on is textbooks.

Grade-school textbooks suck

I spent so much time reading them, but I still found myself not really getting what I wanted. This would eventually result in a culture shock by the time I got to college.

I noticed textbooks portrayed Black people as primitive, with the exception of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center gave the book The American Pageant, a text widely used for AP history classes, a score of 60% for how it denotes Black slavery. The book uses the term “mulatto” to describe Blacks, which is actually a racial slur.

CBS conducted a two-month investigation on how Black history is taught in the United States and had an interesting finding: enslaved Africans referred to as “immigrants” in 1775.

Saying that enslaved Black people immigrated implies they traveled by choice. The reality is, they were forced and came to the U.S. in chains.

blm history

Before college

My encounters with Black history didn’t really begin until my U.S. History class in 11th grade. Prior to, I learned a lot about ancient global history–you know, Rome and Greece. It wasn’t until my woke ass U.S. History teacher, Mr. Espin, put us on to the real Black history.

As an afro-Dominican himself, the information I was learning felt authentic. Sure, anyone can teach a history class, but those who experience it have a stronger connection to it. Black teachers teach Black students on purpose.

For instance, I remember everything he taught us about segregation in the Jim Crow south which sparked a thought recently: we are still segregated. I went on a bike ride from 59th Street and second avenue in Manhattan to the Willis Avenue Bridge in The Bronx and I journaled some findings.

I saw corporate buildings, updated apartment complexes, and only white people before I got to about 100th Street. Then, I started seeing more Black and people of color, project buildings, and corner bodegas. The vernacular even changed. I went from hearing wine bottles clink in Trader Joe’s bags to “YERRRR”s.

While this may seem simple and known to others, it took me back to my 11th-grade classroom with Mr.Espin. That goes to shows the impact of learning history I didn’t know I was yearning for and now apply to reality. Mr.Espin has been an educator for over a decade in the NYC Department of Education.

What I learned about Black history in his class for a year taught me more than any other institution ever did.

The culture shock

I call my undergraduate years “The Culture Shock”. When I stepped foot into SUNY Old Westbury in August 2013, I was finally in the minority, as far as nationality. Most of my peers were dark-skinned Black people. I remember thinking to myself that this will finally be the time I learn about my history from others who have been affected by it.

The conversations about unity and police brutality were frequent to avoid racist attacks. I instantly started making connections to what I learned in U.S. History to what my peers undergo in their everyday lives. I also thought about how systems oppression affects all groups of color and I was combatting that by being in college.

I remember being exposed to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in college; my campus had an active chapter. Just the existence of the organization in my school showed me how the Black community upholds its history.

My perspective on the world changed forever after I graduated college–I learned we are not a monolith but we all part of a system that wasn’t designed for us. Unity and knowledge of our history are very important.

As a journalist

Verifying information and sources is paramount to being a fair journalist. In the age of information, we have access to a lot of resources. Sure, I can google “Black history” or “transatlantic slave trade”, but I need to ensure I’m getting true information. One way I verify this is by speaking to experts and utilizing credible sources like books written by Black authors.

One recent method I started employing is speaking to my older family members. Some of them, like my grandmother, experienced Trujillo’s regime as an adult. Therefore, she has first-hand accounts of what that time period was like in the Dominican Republic.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement have incentivized me to verify everything I read online. As a journalist, I want to make sure I’m spreading accurate information. Most importantly, I want to tell the stories that will be added to my history.

I have a major duty: to continue educating myself on Black history and to contribute to its truth for future generations.

How Bubba Wallace and his support for #BLM changed NASCAR forever

Bubba Wallace, the lone full-time African-American driver in NASCAR, recently voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and called for the banning of Confederate flags at NASCAR events.

In the midst of recent protests and civil unrest across the entire nation, Wallace has been a vocal presence in a sport that has been labeled as the opposite of progressive.

Wallace was brought to tears reading a text from his mother after she heard the news of George Floyd’s murder.

“I pray as the mom of a black son that I never have to hear you cry out ‘I can’t breathe,'” her text wrote.

NASCAR, a sport that has been joked as being “for rednecks,” as one that is only for white people, and conservative and/or ignorant white people at that, would be no one’s first thought for a league taking the proper stand on a social justice issue.

Hell, even James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, a team comprised of mostly African-American players, has refused to release a statement acknowledging George Floyd’s death or the #BLM movement.


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But with Wallace and other white NASCAR drivers’ voices calling for change, NASCAR made it official that confederate flags would no longer be welcome at its events.

Wallace did not just stop there. For last night’s race, Wallace adopted a special paint scheme on his car, with #BLACKLIVESMATTER painting the side and “Compassion, Love, Understanding” etched on the back.

Popular NFL and NBA athletes took notice.

Along with the brave and courageous freedom fighters protesting every single day, it is inspiring to see popular entertainers and athletes taking a stand. Risking their money, their livelihoods, their natural upward trajectories for what they know is right.

Bubba Wallace, the singular full-time Black man in the sport, forced NASCAR’s hand, and props for the Mountain Dew league for doing what was right.

Bigots everywhere have, and will continue to voice their displeasure over the decision, but their screams will be masked by the righteous voices. Their discomfort will be lost in the wind until they look deep within themselves and understand that this movement is bigger than them.

Bubba Wallace’s name will be remembered, for what he does off the track just as much as for what he does on it. He forced NASCAR’s hand, and righteously, the organization did the smart thing.

I know I’m going to tune into the next race I can. With eyes on the TV screen, peeled wide open for that black car with 43 etched on the side.

Low on funds? Here’s how you can still serve justice with no money

There are many different ways to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Some ways to show solidarity are by signing petitions, attending protests, and donating to bail funds. However, not everyone has the money to donate.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a lot of racial disparities and left many Black and brown people financially insecure. Luckily, there are ways to be a part of the cause without money. We’ve compiled a list of actionable items that can help you support #BLM.

The YouTube Video Project

YouTuber Zoe Amira created the “how to financially help BLM with no Money” YouTube Video. The video is a compilation of ways to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement without spending anything.

In the video’s description, Amira mentioned that 100% of the video’s ad revenue via AdSense will be “donated to the associations that offer protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals, and advocacy listed in the beginning of the video.”

She asks viewers to share the video and leave the ads running. By letting others know about this, we can help those who don’t have the financial means to support BLM at the moment.

Link here.

Sign Petitions

Petitions are the “old-school” way of enacting change. Signing one can take very little time. But if you’ve got more than a moment run through these whenever possible. Keep in mind the sooner you sign the better.

We’ve also included international petitions while you’re here. Police brutality against Black bodies is a global issue.

Black Lives Matter #DefundThePolice

This petition helps spread the word about nationally defunding the police and investment in Black communities.

Sign here.

Black Lives Matter Crisis Response

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily and disproportionately impacts Black communities. By signing this petition, you opt to demand racial data on coronavirus and more from the government.

Sign here.

Justice for George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd on camera. This sparked outrage in the United States and in other countries.

This petition aims to reach Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman’s attention so they can charge all four officers involved in Floyd’s murder. The petition’s goal is 16,500,000 signatures. Over 15,000,000 people have signed.

Sign here.

George Floyd Act: Petition for Law Reform

The George Floyd Act proposes law reform that will confront police training, procedures, evaluations, education, and human rights. By signing, you are in support of this reform. The goal is 25,000 signatures. So far, over 17,000 people have signed.

Sign here.

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor, an award-winning EMT, worked on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Police officers showed up at Taylor’s house unannounced, shot her eight times, and killed her.

The police department has not charged her murders. Over 3,100,100 people have signed for Breonna’s justice. The goal is 4,500,000.

Sign here.

Justice for Ahmaud Arbery

An ex-police officer shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery while he was running on February 23, 2020. The encounter was not public until over a month after the murder.


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i #RUNWithMaud 💔⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The killing of former high school athlete Ahmaud Arbery jogging while Black occurred in a Georgia suburb on February 23. The shooters are former investigator with the district attorney’s office Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ According to the police report and video recently released, the father and son followed and blocked Arbery’s path and shot him under the excuse that they believed him to be a suspect of recent neighborhood burglaries. (We will not being showing said video). ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION IN BIO.⁣ ⁣ Prosecutor George E. Barnhill, who had the case for a few weeks told the police that the pursuers had acted within the scope of Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute. Arbery was 25 he would have turned 26 tomorrow.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ He was not carrying a weapon and according to the recently released video can be seen stopped by a truck and grappling with one of the men who was holding a shotgun as several shots are fired at him. The shooters are claiming self defense. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Neither of the shooters have been arrested and after the video calls for their prosecution have swelled on social media, with users actively calling officials to bring justice for Arbery.

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This petition will help the efforts to seek justice for Ahmaud. Over two million people have signed the petition. The goal is three million signers.

Sign here.

Justice for Dominique Clayton

On May 19, 2019, Matthew Kinne killed Dominique Clayton in her home. Kinne is a former policeman who she allegedly had an affair with.

He has pled not guilty to all charges and there is still yet to be a trial. Signing this petition will help the City of Oxford hold Kinne responsible for his crime.

Sign here.

Justice for Dion Johnson

An Arizona DPS trooper fatally shot Dion Johnson after accusing him of “partially blocking traffic” on May 25, 2020. To help hold the DPS trooper accountable and offer closure to Johnson’s family, sign the petition above. The goal is 10,000 signatures. About 9,000 have signed.

Sign here.

Justice for David McAtee

David McAtee was killed by the Louisville Metro Police Department and National Guard on June 1, 2020. McAtee’s killers have not been identified. By signing the petition, you help bring justice and peace to his family. The signature goal is 1 million; over 680,000 people have signed.

Sign here.

Petition to reopen the case of Sandra Bland

There are many holes in the story of Sandra Bland’s death. By signing, you help Bland’s family get one step closer to justice.

Sign here.

Petition for Danroy “DJ” Henry, Jr. recognition on Pace University campus

An off-campus officer killed Danroy “DJ” Henry, Jr. on October 17, 2010. DJ was a student at Pace University. Signing this petition will help honor his legacy on the campus by designating a “DJ Day” on October 21. The petition is close to its goal of 15,000 signatures.

Sign here.

Justice for Willie Simmons

Willie Simmons has been incarcerated for 38 years for stealing nine dollars. This petition’s goal is to hopefully commute Simmons’s sentence. Over 1,300,000 people have signed. The goal is 1,500,000 signatures.

Sign here.

Justice for Alejandro Vargas Martinez

No one has been arrested since Alejandro Vargas Martinez was shot seven times while walking to school in December 2018. By signing, you help raise awareness to find and charge his killers. The creator of this petition set a goal of 500,000 signatures; more than half have signed.

Sign here.

Justice for Tete

Tete Gulley, a queer black transient, was found hanging from a tree on May 27, 2020. This petition was created to show the Oregon medical examiner that there is indeed public interest in this case.

Police ruled Gulley’s cause of death a suicide. However, they did not give Gulley’s mother any paperwork.

Sign here.

Petition to dismiss charges on Marshae Jones

On December 4, 2018, Marshae Jones was shot while she was pregnant. Unfortunately, this caused her to lose her baby. The woman who shot her was arrested but the charges were later dismissed.

Marshae allegedly started the altercation and was charged with manslaughter. Sign this petition to help drop the charges against Jones.

Sign here.

Justice for António Domingos

António Domingos was fatally shot by a policeman on May 9, 2020 for allegedly not wearing a mask. The petition requests the resignation, arrest, and trial of the officer.

Petition to drop all charges against incarcerated trafficking survivor Chrystul Kizer

The justice system charged Chrystul Kizer with life in prison for defending herself against her trafficker. To support Chrystul and bring her case to DA Michael Gravely’s attention, sign this petition.

Sign here.

Petition to stop Julius Jones from being executed by the state of Oklahoma

At 19 years old, the state of Oklahoma convicted Julius Jones of a murder he said he did not commit. Jones has been on death row for almost two decades and is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

To demand justice for Julius, join the other 3 million people that have signed this petition.

Sign here.

Justice for Belly Mujinga

A person with COVID-19 assaulted Belly Mujinga in a London train station. She has since passed away. Her family wants answers as to why her job required her to work in direct contact with “general public passenger flow”.

By signing, you push the railway company to give an explanation to Belly’s exposure to the virus.

Sign here.

Justice for Siyanda

A group of racists attacked Siyanda and in turn, the justice system sentenced her to 4 1/2 years for defending herself. Her attackers said they did not touch her, but her injuries say otherwise. To free Siyanda and bring her justice, sign this petition.

Sign here.

Justice for Young Uwa

Uwa’s assailant raped and beat her with a fire extinguisher in her local church. Olakelan Aremo, the creator of this petition stated, “The security personnel in the church is the main suspect because even hoodlums fear to attack a church not to talk of rape and murder.”

An update shows that the Nigerian police have a suspect in custody but the investigation is still ongoing. Sign to show your support.

Sign here.

Petition to reopen Kendrick Johnson’s case #J4Kendrick

The case of Kendrick Johnson left many with unanswered questions. Johnson’s body was found inside a school gym mat in 2013 and was initially ruled an accident.

The police department closed the investigation of his death, but we are encouraging citizens to still dig for information.

Sign here.

Justice for Emerald Black

Police pulled Emerald Black and her husband over on June 7, 2019 for “bad registration tags.” The officers pulled her out of her car, threw her to the ground, and stomped on her stomach which caused her to miscarry. They then arrested her. This petition demands an investigation of the San Leandro Police Department.

Sign here.

NAACP Take Action

In order to help fight for a fair, and unproblematic judiciary, sign NAACP‘S Take Action petition.

Text petitions

Text petitions are another way to use your voice. Here are some numbers you can text:

– Text “JUSTICE” to 668-366 for MoveOn’s petition for George Floyd

– Text “ENOUGH” to 551-56 for justice for Breonna Taylor

New Yorkers: Text “Sign RISTUS” to 504-09. The state legislature met Tuesday, June 2, 2020, as there has been “a call to repeal 50A which allows the NYPD to hide records of police misconduct.” Follow the instructions via text to ask representatives to repeal this law. More information on the law here.

Attending protests

Protests for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, in general, are happening throughout the U.S. Graphics show that at least 430 cities and towns have participated in demonstrations, some of which have had a National Guard presence.

If you would like to attend a protest, follow @USAProtests on Twitter for information and updates on current protests. Follow members of your community, too. They may be the ones organizing demonstrations on a local level.

A reminder: we are still undergoing a pandemic, so be safe and wear your mask. Read our guide to safely protesting in a pandemic. 

Contacting elected officials

Picking up the phone to call your federal, state, and local representatives is more impactful than you may think. The website provides contact information for the leaders you seek to call.

When you call, you most likely connect to an office staff member. Do your research beforehand and feel free to share how current events have impacted you.

On June 3, 2020, Campaign Zero launched #8CantWait. According to this project’s data, police violence can be decreased by 72 percent. The website allows users to select their city to see which policies have been enacted. It also provides you with your mayor or sheriff’s contact information so you can let them know that eight can’t wait.

Email templates to reach out to officials

Artist Maasai Godwin created a link that will redirect you to an email template you can send to Minnesota officials in regards to George Floyd’s murder.

All you have to do is fill in your name and city/state and send. To demand justice for Breonna Taylor via email, follow this link. Activist N’Dea Godwin created it.

Defund12 is also a great online resource with pre-written email templates you can send to your officials. The templates are separated by state, making your call to action more specific. Don’t only limit yourself to contacting representatives in your state, email the other ones throughout the U.S.!

Educate Yourself

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It’s okay to not have all the answers. Do your research so you can understand how the Black community is affected daily. Don’t be afraid to pick up a book, speak to an expert, or even have a deep conversation with a friend.

Don’t depend on a Black person to educate you–you have to do the work by yourself!


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If you have the right to vote, exercise it! Use your resources to educate yourself on what a candidate (no matter the level) represents. Registered voters can now vote via absentee ballot for the primary elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One common misconception is that non-presidential elections aren’t important, therefore, people don’t participate in them as much. However, voting in smaller elections impacts you more directly.

If you haven’t received an absentee ballot yet, click here to request one. To check your voter registration status, click here. For the 2020 state and presidential primary election dates, click here.

In a time where people are fighting for Black lives, it’s important that we get to choose who will be in office making and passing and executing laws.

These artists powerfully portray the Black American experience

Art has the power to evoke empathy and bring people together as a community, and in this time of protest and pandemic, positive creative influences are needed now more than ever.

Here are some artists who have taken to social media or other online outlets to express their artistic perspectives on current events or experiences of being black in America.


Italian artist Stratidiblu, real name Luigi Mallozzi, has recently created a striking portrait of George Floyd in the aftermath of his unfortunate death.

What started as a single piece of artwork has now spread across profile pictures, gone viral, and most recently, become the powerful face of a new line of merchandise.

This powerful piece portrays the silencing of Floyd, and arguably represents the suppression of many other voices of Americans affected by police brutality and violence, especially in the midst of recent protests.

The subject of the piece also reflects a recent trend on social media, where many artists have created their own portraits of George Floyd, to honor his memory and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Beyond the artwork’s popularity on social media, Stratidiblu has also created a series of merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, prints, and pins featuring the piece. These come as a part of a new artistic collaboration the artist has with The Gathering for Justice. 

The charity organization fights against youth incarceration, promotes activism towards reforming the justice system, and is, now, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Furthermore, all proceeds from sales go towards supporting Minnesota organizers aiding local communities.

Stratidiblu also has a multitude of other striking art pieces that comment on aspects of social justice, current events, mental health, and the human condition. From artworks representing feminist themes to the power of human emotions and love, Stratidiblu has an astounding array of thought-provoking and touching art.

Odera Igbokwe

Illustrator and painter Odera Igbokwe uses his beautifully made art to showcase the magic of the African diaspora, as well as the experiences of queer people of color.

His clever use of various hues also helps contribute to making a truly magical feel in his works. Igbokwe also incorporates aspects of fantasy and Afrofuturism to create mystical artworks that truly evoke a sense of wonder. 

This can be seen in particular in his illustration series known as “Dance of the Summoner,” which draws upon such elements to reclaim various aspects of African traditions and culture. It also draws attention to themes related to the African diaspora, queer people of color, and intersectionality.

The illustrator has also used his art to express anti-racist messages and promote support for members of the black community, specifically in regards to the emotions they are feeling, especially in this tumultuous time.


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We’ve got alot to be mad about. Ancestral rage is present day rage. We’ve got *alot* to be mad about.

A post shared by Odera Igbokwe (@odyism) on

Igbokwe’s art can be found on his Instagram, personal website, and Patreon, which is also the center of the “Dance of the Summoner” series.

Carlos Martiel

Cuban artist Carlos Martiel creates astounding visual pieces through the use of mediums such as forms of sculpture and 3D-art, or even photography with him as the main model of the artwork.

Many of his pieces focus on themes such as activism or immigration and often provide social commentary. Their commentary is enhanced by how Martiel often uses materials related to the work’s central theme.

He’ll use rocks and pieces of bricks and security fence spikes to form an American flag, a piece of his own dreadlocks to document the places he’s lived, a photo of him lying prone with an American flag piercing his skin.

These pieces and more tell a complex narrative about identity and society.

The artist has also recently taken to social media to protest police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement. From using his art to spread his message to showing photos of himself at protests and marches, Martiel’s artistic expressions are arguably another form of rebellion and a call to action in these times.

Carlos Martiel posts his artwork in addition to chronicling his activism on Instagram, as well as on his personal website.

King Kesia

A visual artist that combines traditional artwork, fashion, and photography to create a variety of beautiful and powerful pieces, King Kesia uses her art to portray inner self, personal beauty, and claim a proud self-image.

Furthermore, her artwork also focuses on black women and creates a compelling narrative about confidence and self-worth, which are arguably important attributes to hold on to in this time of unrest.

Kesia’s pieces both traditional and photographic use a unique diversity of form, as well as incorporating elements of African culture at times, to create a variety of inspiring and creative artwork with a sense of hidden strength. 


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I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness. Ossie Davis ✊🏿

A post shared by rudegal (@kingkesia) on

King Kesia’s works can be found on her Instagram, where she has also recently taken to using her art to show a sense of black pride and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. She also has a personal website where she sells her works.

Art in a time of protest and pandemic

In this time where uncertainty reigns and many people seem to be chaotically pulling in every direction, it is key to find a sense of stability and community. Witnessing the human experiences of others, much less being reminded of what makes us human, is an important first step in this process.

Art has the ability to evoke those essential human emotions and provide a lens into people’s experiences. It helps to touch the feelings of others and to create bonds with people. And both of those things are exactly what we need right now.

Just Do More: Nike is tackling real social issues unlike any other brand

A recent development in Nike’s attempt at keeping up with the progressives shows the company displaying plus-sized mannequins inside their London flagship store.

Companies that market to an increasingly younger demographic have accurately realized that this demographic is increasingly progressive. Millennials and Gen-Zers care more about inclusion, diversity, and empowerment of women and minorities.

In other words, younger people are largely more “woke.” In order to keep cashing in on this growing demographic’s bag, companies like Nike have to adjust their approach.

Nike has been a leading brand in raising the standard of tackling social issues.

But this is nothing new.

In the past, Nike has promoted everything from ageism to taking a stance on #BLM by appointing Colin Kaepernick as their spokesperson.

Their ad campaigns over the last three decades have often been based on social issues and Nike is not afraid to take risks.

But the company has also been synonymous with sweatshops at the same time. In 1991, activist Jeff Ballinger published a report on the working conditions of Nike’s Indonesian factories.

The report found that conditions were dangerous and pay for workers was devastatingly low. Eventually, Nike promised to improve conditions by monitoring its sweatshops, and they did for a while.

In 2017 however, the Fashion Revolution’s 2017 Fashion Transparency Index gave Nike a score of 36 out of 100 stating the company was not making enough of its environmental social practices information public.

Nike is on its’ way to becoming a “sustainable brand.”

As a member of the ‘Sustainable Apparel Coalition,’ Nike has made significant changes to minimize its’ environmental footprint. There are a few things that Nike can follow through with to make that happen.

The sportswear company looks to expand its use of eco-friendly materials, continue to minimize off-cuts in parts of its manufacturing process and follow it’s waste and water reduction strategy.

All of this could change the way the industry approaches environmental issues.

Taking Some Steps Back

Following its’ “Dream Crazier” campaign, Nike has also received recent backlash when Olympic runner Alysia Montaño, known for competing in 2014 while eight months pregnant, called out Nike’s policies in her NYT op-ed, “Nike Told me to Dream Crazy Until I wanted a Baby.”

Montaño discussed on CBS This Morning how Nike stops paying its female athletes when they get pregnant.

Nike includes a clause in its 2019 track and field sponsorship contracts that states they can cut sponsorship if an athlete does not meet their performance goals “for any reason.”

But a spokesperson from Nike also stated that there was “inconsistency” in performance-based payment reductions for female athletes across different sports and that it was standardized in 2018 “so that no female athlete is penalized financially for pregnancy.”

According to the NYTimes Nike has not specifically created an official policy that protects pregnant women, even though it often does choose to pay pregnant athletes.

Doing Something Right

The inclusion of a plus-size mannequin is a step in the right direction for Nike as a socially-conscious company. Shedding light on plus size athletes is a necessary and unfortunately revolutionary act.

The mannequin has gotten some backlash from fat-shamers but overall the public has met the stance with positivity and praise.

Nike is one of the leading brands in the apparel industry.

That is exactly why everything Nike promotes publicly and behind closed doors has the potential of impacting society. Nike’s stance on social issues is on point and unafraid of risks.

All Nike has to do now is live up to those standards in its policies and future business models.

C’ mon, Nike’s representation game is fire.