Black Lives Matter: Ways You Can Support
Black Lives Matter.
During Pride Month.
Charlotte Pride stands with our Black siblings.
On Wednesday, Charlotte Black Pride Chair Shann Fulton and Charlotte Pride President Daniel Valdez released a special message to the community in support of Black Lives. You can view that video message on Facebook. Charlotte Black Pride and Charlotte Pride want our Black LGBTQ siblings to know that our two organizations stand with you. We see you. We support you. Many of us ARE you. Many of us have experienced the same kinds of brutality and harassment that has caused people all across Charlotte and the country to take to the streets in protest.
Our LGBTQ community is made up of people from every walk of life: people of color, those with mental and physical disabilities, low-income folks, and so many others. For many of us, we have restrictions that keep us from protesting on the front lines. Instead of feeling guilt at this inaction, we can become proactive and be a part of the solution in a variety of ways.
Read and educate yourself. For many of us, the killing of George Floyd has been eye-opening. For others of us, we knew this would happen again. To be prepared to combat racism in all facets of your life, you must read and learn more.
Here are some recommendation lists for great reads that can help you become a better ally:
- Anti-Racism for Beginners: A Guide
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s staff-curated Black Lives Matter reading list
- A compiled list on Twitter of several books broken into beginner, intermediate, topic-specific and other categories
One of the best ways you can support from home is to sign petitions and help draw attention to these issues. Find a list of petitions to sign here. And don’t forget to share the ones you sign to social media so others can find them too!
Support Black Businesses
To help Black folks find economic equity, we must support their businesses. Here are some guides to how to do that locally in Charlotte:
- Charlotte Observer list of local Black businesses
- Charlotte Agenda list of local Black businesses
- Qcitymetro’s list of Black restaurants
- Travel Noire: Spend a Day with Black Businesses in Charlotte
Love a particular product (like makeup, candles, clothing, etc.), do some research – there are so many incredible brands you can support online.
Support your community and the movement financially. Systems of inequity have left many members of our community without support, especially as they draw attention to police brutality and institutional racism. Here are some ways you can financially support those who are out protesting both locally and across the country:
- Charlotte Uprising
- NC Community Bail Fund of Durham
- LGBTQ Bail Relief
- To Those Victimized by Police Brutality
- NAACP Legal Defund Fund
- Black Visions Collective
- ACLU of North Carolina
No Money, but Want to Donate? Stream this YouTube video filled with black content and tons of ads. All the money from the ad revenue will be donated directly to BLM organizations.
If you are able, protest! Google, search social media, and find the protests happening near you. Join if you can, amplify the voices of those present, and if you are a white person, stand up to ensure that your Black and Brown siblings are protected.
You have the right to protest. The First Amendment protects your ability to speak openly and freely — either by yourself or with a group of people. You can speak out freely online and you also have the right to take your speech to the streets. Before you attend a protest in-person, read up on tips to protest safely and wisely.
The most basic and primary tips any protester should know include:
- Planning ahead: Plan to take care of your essential needs and bring supplies with you, like water, a first aid kit, fully charged mobile devices, energy snacks and other essentials
- Be calm and focused: Protests can get intense. Know when to react to danger or warning signs sooner, not later.
- Be watchful: Be aware of your surroundings and any signs of physical or mental problems in yourself and others. Take care of your friends and help calm down or support others who may be exhibiting panicked behavior or signs of distress.
- Don’t go alone: Attend protests with a buddy or a group of people you know well and have a plan on how to get in touch with your group if you get separated.
These tips above are taken from Amnesty International’s Protest Resource Packet. Click here to read the full guide and its helpful tips for protesting safely.
Be sure to also check out the ACLU’s guide to protesters’ rights.
Finally, remember that we are still experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. If you choose to go to public spaces and be in mass gatherings, you should wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose and continue your essential personal health and social distancing practices as much as possible.
Most importantly and the one that really doesn’t end when these protests stop: SPEAK UP. Share things on social media; have conversations in your faith group, in your homes, and with your family; follow Black creators online and go to their events in person (when possible). When you see racism (here’s a short guide in a handy image on how to spot casual racism that is the most pervasive), say something! You can be the first step in broadening someone’s worldview.
When speaking on social media, always remember to center Black voices. White allies and POC allies who aren’t Black, your thoughts are valuable too, but right now, your job is to amplify Black voices, thoughts, and opinions, not your own.
As you read all of this material in our newsletter and as you watch stories come in from across the country, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and afraid. That’s perfect okay. So are we.
The fear of our white and non-Black allies is incredibly valid, but please understand that this time is even scarier for our Black community. Remember to speak up, stand out, share, donate, and advocate today and every day because these lives matter.