The United States is scary right now. Dozens of cities are erupting in protests over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
I live 20 minutes from Minneapolis. I’ve been in the city for the past two days dropping off food, cleaning up the streets, and peacefully protesting.
It can feel hopeless. It can feel overwhelming. It can feel terrifying. But there are things that can be done.
We as young people have power. We are the future. We are the change. If you want to take action if you want to help, here are three things that you can do.
A lot of the news surrounding the death of George Floyd can feel overwhelming and intimidating, particularly if you don’t feel well-educated in the area of U.S race relations. This can be a tough subject, but it’s one that we all should be learning about. Here are some things you can do:
Talk to people that know more about this issue than you do, such as your history professors. Ask them the best ways to learn about this topic. It’s good to receive guidance and resources from people who know what they’re talking about.
Become a Historian
The best place to start is with history. You have to understand the roots of an issue before you can understand the issue itself. Here are some key terms to research: history of race relations in the United States, the Civil Rights era, history of the Black Lives Matter movement.
These are some resources that I found to be the most informative, inspiring, and helpful in my own journey to educate myself on race and race relations in the United States:
- Book: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Book: Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Documentary: 13th on Netflix
- TV Show: Dear White People on Netflix
- Movie: The Hate U Give on Hulu
Please consider donating your money to an organization that needs your help. Where we put our money matters–let’s use any extra funds we have to create positive change in our society.
Here are some donation locations:
The Floyd Family’s Go Fund Me page
This Go Fund Me is run by Mr. Floyd’s brother to cover burial, funeral, and medical costs. All proceeds go directly to Mr. Floyd’s family.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is raising money to bail protestors out of jail and reform the cash bail system that disadvantages low-income individuals. This is a great way to alleviate the economic disparities that affect people’s ability to peacefully organize and make change.
The Minnesota ACLU
The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union supports the legal program of this organization that works to protect and expand Civil Rights in the state of Minnesota.
These are not the only places to donate, they’re just places near and dear to my heart. Check-in with your community leaders to see where a monetary donation can make the largest positive impact in your area.
Raise your voice!
Historically speaking, silence has never helped further a cause. Please consider speaking up about the injustices and systemic racism that exists in the United States. This can feel like an intimidating thing, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s what raising your voice can look like:
Email your state representatives
Talk to them about the change you want to see and ask them about what you and your loved ones can do to make this happen. Advocate for a more equitable and just society.
Post on your social media
No matter how big or small your Instagram or Snapchat following is, it can be used for good. Post about the resources provided above, the donation links provided above, peaceful protests happening in your area, or anything that you feel will help create a more equitable community around you.
Talk with your family and friends
Start a dialogue with them about the recent news and the change you would like to see. Big change starts with individuals.
These are not the only steps to be taken right now, but they’re steps that I’ve found to be the most helpful in processing the news and helping my community.
I’m not an expert by any means. I have so much learning to do. A lot of these resources and tips were recommended to me by friends, teachers, and organizations. I may not be an expert, but I am a young woman watching the news right now. I am a young woman who wishes to live in a society in which all human beings are treated with equal dignity and respect. I am a young woman who believes that her generation can be the change.
So, please, reach out to the people around you and educate yourself. Spend your time and money helping your community in this time of national need. Speak out against the injustices that you see and come alongside others who are demanding change.
Let’s do something, together.
Xx, Maggie Jay
University of Wisconsin, Delta Gamma