I care so deeply and strongly for the minority communities in America. This is not a question of a singular time point but a story that transcends time and geographical location. I dedicated my life to the cause when I began to see how profoundly entrenched the problems were within our government.
In just a few short months, compounded factors have exposed that network.
Ask yourself the questions:
Who is working on the frontlines?
Who doesn’t have food access?
Who doesn’t have healthcare access?
Who doesn’t have shelter access?
Who has lost their job?
Who is being abused?
Who is being targeted by the police?
You will find that the same people can be grouped into the answer to many of those questions.
Violence creates a response. I see that. I understand that. I am with that. When Trayvon Martin died unarmed, at the young age of 17 in 2012, the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction and I saw a path forward.
“I can’t breathe”, said Eric Garner as he was ruthlessly murdered by cops in 2014 – for what reason – possibly selling untaxed cigarettes.
And so many more have died. Here were are today – #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #JusticeForAhmaudArbery, #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor.
None of their murderers have faced prison time.
In 2016, I felt helpless when I was pulled over in Alabama and asked to step out of my vehicle and come to the back of my car to speak with a white officer. The person in the passenger seat had no view of me and was not allowed out of the car. I was cited for driving 5 miles below the speed limit but my stop had nothing to do with my driving and more to do with my skin color, a brown-skinned woman traveling with all her belongings on a road trip home to California. She must be an illegal immigrant.
I was let go but so many aren’t. I feel the injustice. I want to protest. But now I find myself asking the question, in the middle of a pandemic, is that the smartest move?
As I scroll through my Instagram feed, it seems that every person I know is engaged in the BLM movement – even the ones who have been apolitical till this point, the ones rapping the n-word without being part of the black community, and the ones who have shut me down for being too “political” for talking about these issues.
I’m unsure how to feel.
Is this a product of unrest or restlessness of being at home?
Unfortunately, killings by police are not isolated to a few times a year. Mapping Police Violence is a great resource and presents a reality that is not surprising to me. Out of 365 days last year, there were only 27 days that the police did not kill someone – an indication of oversight in due process.
This is not a singular time point. We are not in this for instant gratification.
So we quickly share the information we see on social media, join the cause, spread awareness. We see something happening and we are quick to act, rightfully so. BUT then the next hashtag comes around and we forget the last one…
Social media activism can be beneficial, as we’ve seen with #MeToo and #BLM, but with #BlackOutTuesday, there was criticism, almost immediately. People began the day by posting black squares but soon after, black and brown activists were cautioning people to spread information rather than suppressing it by blacking out Instagram feeds.
Even as an engaged, politically active person, I was confused about what stance to take. Eventually, I took down my post with a black square. I am in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, which I will execute through my actions, spread of information, donations to groups, and dialogue with my family and friends. It doesn’t need to be on social media.
What I AM seeing: people coalescing in a way like never before.
Who cares if you were unaware before. I’m glad you’re part of the movement NOW.
Social media doesn’t need to be performative. But it can remain informative. Take the time to reflect and find the best way for yourself to get involved. Keep in mind your social responsibility with the ongoing pandemic:
- Protest with a group of fewer than 6 people at your neighborhood street corner. Maintain social distance.
- If there is a curfew in your city, like the one in San Jose, go outside and walk around for 10 minutes after curfew (only if it is safe for you to do so).
- Start conversations with people you normally would not.
- If you don’t currently have money, the AdSense revenue from these following videos will be given to organizations working on black movements:
- If you have money, donate to these following organizations:
- George Floyd GoFundMe
- Breonna Taylor GoFundMe
- Ahmaud Arbory GoFundMe
- Reclaim the Block
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Vision Collective
- ACLU – Minnesota
- The Okra Project
- Loveland Foundation
- Richmond Community Bail Fund
- Brooklyn Bail Fund
- Atlanta Action Network
- Columbus Bail Fund
- Louisville Community Bail Fund
- Chicago Bond
- The Bail Project
- Silicon Valley Debug
- Northwest Community Bail Fund
- Philadelphia Bail Fund
- San Jose AACSA
- Hip Hop 4 Change
- The Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee Bail Fund
- The Anti-Police Terror Project
- Find local black organizations to support (here are some for my SJ community):
- Email your local representatives.
Srishti Prabha is the Assistant Editor at India Currents and could not have written this piece without the help of all the black and brown activists sharing valuable information. Most of the information within this article is compiled with the help of Ritika Kumar. Thank you to all the black and brown people committed to change!