black lives matter: links

So the making of this post does not count as “action” – my blog does not have a following and thus the reach of this post is limited. Rather, this an assemblage of links for myself for the purposes of locating them again when needed in discussions (the number of tabs I have open is getting a bit silly these days). I thought it would be appropriate to tidy it up and share it on the blog as well.

There are many great resources (like this – formerly the BLM Carrd, now a linktree!) out there. What this includes is a reading list with some Canada-specific readings and an action list with Canadian places to donate as well as a quick discussion of registered charity status with regards to making donations (something that has come up in conversations I’ve had).

PLEASE NOTE: I made this blog post prior to to the development of the BLM Canada section of the BLM Carrd. Thus at the time I thought it was helpful to assemble some Canada specific readings and organizations. Now that the BLM Canada section has greatly expanded, I would recommend you first defer to the recommendations of that document for resources and places to donate!

1. Reading list

The murder of George Floyd:

The practice of protesting & the response:

Throughout history, black people have employed violence, nonviolence, marches, and boycotts. Only one thing is clear—there is no form of black protest that white supremacy will sanction. 

Anger and love can co-exist and work in tandem towards a single end, and we are angry because of our love for our Black selves, despite endless messaging that says we are not worthy of it.The ways we choose to show this love will always be in conflict with what the state wants from and for us, especially when it manifests as actions against the oppressive systems from which the state benefits. 

Respectability becomes a code word for complacency and submission. Respectability allows white supremacy to flourish unimpeded. Historically, respectability has not ended violence against people of colour. It has not diminished incidents of police brutality.

But as years of cases from around the country keep proving, police force can’t pacify protests responding to police force—and only the police can break the cycle of violence. […]

Of course this is happening in Canada too:

News stories and readings:

Prison industrial complex in Canada: some readings to spark discussion, particularly after watching 13th (Ava DuVernay)

Sources to go for statistics:

Going forwards:

What does defunding the police mean? To put it simply: “We’re sending people with a gun to somebody who is in crisis. The answer is to stop policing and start supporting and caring” (Desmond Cole as quoted in CBC News). It’s just as much, if not more so, about introducing new supports and investments as it is about reducing policing. 

  • No more money for the police (New York Times) – an article found through SURJ. Outlines what defunding can look like with many examples of policing-alternative initiatives. I’ve added bolded font. **this article had the best reception when I shared articles about defunding the police with others who were initially skeptical about the idea. This would be a good article to start with when talking with others!**

The only way we’re going to stop these endless cycles of police violence is by creating alternatives to policing. Because even in a pandemic where black people have been disproportionately killed by the coronavirus, the police are still murdering us. […]

As the case of George Floyd makes clear, calling 911 for even the slightest thing can be a death sentence for black people. For many marginalized communities, 911 is not a viable option because the police often make crises worse. These same communities, who often need emergency services the most, are forced to make do without the help. […]

People often question the practicality of any emergency response that excludes the police. We live in a violent society, but the police rarely guarantee safety. 

[1.] Black communities interact with police regularly because we live in neighbourhoods police target. We are experts in the ways that police can brutalize and inflict violence upon us. Their presence is no assurance of safety in Black communities. This is often true for Indigenous communities and communities living in poverty as well.[…]

Wealthier, non-Black, non-Indigenous, privileged communities tend to feel safe because they have a rarely used option to call the police when they feel their safety is threatened. But, they are generally not interacting with police; their communities are not policed in the same way, and they are not targeted for criminalization. […]

Defunding the police can free up funding that we can reinvest in services that provide real safety for both kinds of communities. The communities that are constantly exposed to police violence should not be deprived of effective safety and security services simply because more privileged communities feel safer when calling the police is an option. […]

We need solidarity.

And if police must be involved, we need them not to shoot.

Finally, some resources for white and white-ish people such as myself

  • I came across this resource list via TheShowMustBePaused 
  • Barnour Hesse’s The 8 White Identities  – I was introduced to this at a talk earlier in the year. The speaker explained that apart from identities #7 and #8, the rest act to impede anti-racist efforts. It’s a useful framework to think about where we are and what effectively we are contributing – if anything at all
  • Allegories on race and racism  (Camara Jones, Tedx via Youtube) – I’ve been introduced to this previously as a useful tool

2. Taking action

Summarized by Da’Shaun Harrison: “There are only three things white people can do that will matter, both in this moment and beyond: 1) give up your money, 2) provide shelter and other resources to Black folks, and 3) give up your life. That’s it.”

  • Black Lives Matter Carrd – this is a compilation of resources, petitions to sign, places to donate and other actions to take (link updated to the linktree)
  • Talk to those in your sphere of influence (see Radicalizing your family against white supremacy is essential for liberation via Wear Your Voice)
  • Call or email officials. I participated in an organized calling event put on by SURJ which is a great way to get started and helped give me an idea of who I could contact. Since then I’ve been working on my own email templates to flesh things out a bit more referencing statements by local organizations, and trying to cite stats and reports when I can find them (I’ve been doing Toronto and Calgary specific templates – contact me if you’d like them!). 
  • A new initiative I just received an email about today is this rapid response Black voter registration program by Color of Change (note: you must be a US citizen or permanent resident to contribute)
  • Donate (suggestions below)

Non-registered charities 

Registered charities

American

Canadian

Registered charity status?

In my conversations with people, I’ve been told that some prefer only donate to registered charities. I think it’s important to consider that the process of becoming a registered charity can pose a barrier to many organizations, particularly the smaller community led initiatives being created to respond to community needs. Becoming a registered charity can also pose restrictions on the what activities can be carried out and how funds can be used. This article details some of the reasons why organizations may not choose to become a registered charity, but may instead adopt other structures such as non-profit organizations. Furthermore, many organizations still have transparency processes and reports about use of funds. 

However, I acknowledge that there may be less clear accountability and regulation around use of donations, particularly for some of the non-registered funds that have popped up recently. Thus, for those that prefer to donate to registered charities/tax-deductible donations, I have separated the two lists. 

Finally, if you’re finding yourself held back by fears:

“Another big problem with the white liberal mentality is being afraid to offer solidarity and support out of fear that black people will be offended or angry,” Cole says. “‘What if I say the wrong thing? What if I get called a racist?’ So instead they sit it out and watch what happens. But for black people, this is a matter of survival. We will be out in the streets campaigning, organizing, resisting. The question is, who wants to join the party with us?” (Desmond Cole, as quoted in Pacific Standard)

The fear can be helpful if it motivates us to read and educate ourselves. You can also consider some of Layla Saad’s online courses such as How to Show up in BIPOC-only Spaces without White Centering.  

Some etiquette via Layla Saad:

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I’ve read feedback that it can be frustrating to see all these lists being made and no evidence of anything being done. So far I have made two Canadian donations and am talking to the financially stable people in my life about them donating as well. I’ve also participated in organized calling and emailing of government officials.

The value of just conversation is dubious, but I’ve also been trying to bring up these topics (though to be honest, with the pandemic going on, my conversations have become quite few and far between…). I’ve found it can be helpful to look for common ground and be open to learning from others. As an example: in conversation with a senior I’m connected with through a program, we found common ground in terms of the inappropriateness of police responding to mental health crises based on her own experiences of caring for someone with mental health concerns. And from her I learned about different models of emergency mental health response initiatives she had seen!

Please feel free to provide feedback, recommendations and additional links.

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