The Brown Girls Do It Newsletter #5 - Black Lives Matter

We've put together resources on racism, policing, and how best to support Black people right now.

Hey,

Where do we begin? It’s been a couple of weeks since you’ve heard from us, and for that, we’re sorry. In this edition of the newsletter, we’ll be talking about the deaths of Black people at the hands of the police in the US, in the UK and all over the world, and how we can help. If you can’t handle that right now, come back to this when you’re in the headspace to, and look after yourself, please.  

Black Lives Matter. 

Black Lives Matter every single day. 

Black Lives Matter when we can see injustice documented, and Black Lives Matter when we cannot. 

Say it to yourself. Say it over and over to others. 

Black Lives Matter.   

Our hearts are unbearably heavy at the moment. The killings of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota by police officers, Tony McDade in Florida and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, are stark reminders of the fact that Black people are the subjects of state violence every single day. This is only to name a few, heartbreakingly, the list is much longer. We mourn for the victims and their families, and we’re now trying to use our platform to let you know how you can help, and how you can learn more.  

Here in the UK, too, we mourn for Belly Mujinga, who passed away after being spat on by a man with COVID-19. British Transport Police announced on 29th May that ‘no further action will be taken’, and we know that there must be a widespread call to action, for any chance at the justice that Belly deserves.

After the events of the last few weeks, we’ve received messages asking us what people can do to learn about racism and police brutality, and how they can best help.

We hope the resources we’re about to signpost to, help you in your journey towards actively practising anti-racism. After all, in the words of Angela Davis: “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Here’s what you can do:

Share:

Don’t share the videos of Black people being murdered by the police. We’ll say it again. DO NOT SHARE THE VIDEOS OR IMAGES OF BLACK PEOPLE BEING MURDERED. It is traumatising for Black people, disrespectful to the victims and their families, and you do not need to ‘shock’ people on your social media timelines in order to get across the gravity of the situation.

Use your voice and social media to uplift Black voices and share the work and resources being put together. You don’t need to add your own comments and thoughts if you’re not Black, your support is worth far more right now than anything else.

Share the places to donate.

Share petitions. Share resources. Share the work of organisations committed to tackling police brutality and violence.  

Michael Harriott, Senior  Editor and Writer at The Root has  compiled a thread of Martin Luther King Jr quotes, for the white people harping on about non-violence, but use this to educate yourself and others on his legacy:

Donate: 

It’s not enough to be angry, or upset. Put your money where your mouth is, and if you can’t donate personally, share these links. 

  • US Bail Funds

With protests in every US state, it’s important to donate to bail funds so that protesters detained by police can be freed. ActBlue have put together a resource allowing you to split donations between 60+ bail funds here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd?fbclid=IwAR0Qk62PlJ7d7YRvIuq7hgvSmZxp5fa-3G_S6HkRrB8CHZueWrxBIS6mjW8

  • Mutual Aid Funds

Many bail funds are receiving plenty of attention and are urging people to donate to mutual aid funds to help Black folks during the current pandemic. Twitter user @thegirlwithfood collated a thread of mutual aid funds to donate to here:

  • Black Trans Protesters Emergency Fund

Black Trans Femmes in the Arts area collective who are supporting protesters and Black Trans women, who are more likely to be victims of police violence. You can send donations to the fund via paypal to btfacollective@gmail.com

  • Inquest.org.uk 

Inquest is a charity in the UK which specialises in supporting the families of victims who have died due to the failings of state agencies. Inquest’s specialist casework includes: deaths in police and prison custody; in immigration detention centres; in mental health settings and deaths involving multi-agency failings or where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question. 

  • If you have no money, you can donate by watching Zoe Amira’s video project without an ad-blocker here:

All ad revenue from this video is being donated to bail funds.

Contact:

If you are in the US, call your representatives. Call your Mayor. 

If you are in the UK, contact your local MP,  and let them know you expect them to speak up on these issues and tackle police brutality in the UK. 

In the UK, Twitter user @Directoromok has compiled a list of ways to work towards Belly  Mujinga, which includes templates for writing to your MP, writing to the union she was represented by, and writing to British Transport Police:   

Sign: 

The  following petitions are from links under Zoe Amira’s video project:

 George Floyd - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/peti...

Raise The Degree - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/peti...

Arrest All Four - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/peti...

Raise The Degree - https://www.change.org/p/minneapolis-...

George Floyd - https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-...

George Floyd - https://t.co/ENgYhM2oEC

George Floyd - https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/ju...

Get The Officers Charged - https://t.co/lPsRQq6GqD

Charge All Four Officers https://www.change.org/p/change-org-t...

Breonna Taylor - https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/jus...

Breonna Taylor - https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/ju...

Ahmaud Arbery - https://www.change.org/p/federal-bure...

Ahmaud Arbery - https://www.change.org/p/human-rights...

Pass The Georgia Hate Crime Bill https://www.change.org/p/governor-bri...

Defund MPD https://secure.everyaction.com/eR7GA7...

Life Sentence For Police Brutality https://www.change.org/p/department-o...

Life Sentence for Police Brutality https://www.change.org/p/department-o...

Regis Korchinski - https://t.co/fqxvTJ76gE

Tony McDade - https://www.change.org/p/black-lives-...

Joao Pedro - http://chng.it/FjJ7ZD4q5p

Julius Jones - https://www.change.org/p/julius-jones...

Belly Mujinga - https://www.change.org/p/govia-thames...

Willie Simmons - https://www.change.org/p/alabama-gove...

Hands Up Act - https://www.change.org/p/us-senate-ha...

National Action Against Police Brutality https://www.change.org/p/national-act...

Kyjuanzi Harris -https://www.change.org/p/illinois-gov...

Alejandro Vargas Martinez - https://www.change.org/p/florida-poli...

Censorship Of Police Brutality In France https://www.change.org/p/gouvernement...

In the UK, you can sign this petition calling for an end to  sales  of arms, tear gas, and  rubber bullets to the  United States here:  https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-suspend-uk-export-of-tear-gas-rubber-bullets-and-riot-shields-to-usa?recruiter=42102042&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial&recruited_by_id=e897dce0-40a4-0130-45af-3c764e049b10&utm_content=fht-22558188-en-gb%3Av12

Share all of these petitions as well as signing them.

Read:

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start.

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race  - Reni Eddo-Lodge  

Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book is essential reading for white folks (especially British white folks). Reni has explicitly asked people to borrow the book if they can, because she is uncomfortable with profiting financially from the deaths of fellow Black people. She has committed to donating a  portion of her royalties from this time, and asks that if you buy a copy, you match the money spent on the book with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. You can find a link to the thread she wrote about this here.

  • Me and White Supremacy -  Layla F. Saad

This book is an excellent tool for learning about your relationship to white supremacy and unlearning racism and white supremacy. Although hardback copies are sold out due to  phenomenal demand, ebook editions are available, and Layla has asked folks to donate to bail  funds and Black folks working towards justice if they can.

  • How to Be an Anti-Racist -  Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X.  Kendi’s work explores the fact that anti-racism is something you must struggle towards every day. You don’t get to read a few books and call yourself anti-racist, you have to commit to making anti-racist choices and actions every day.   

  • White Fragility  - Robin D’Angelo

As a white woman committed to anti-racism, Robin has laid out the blueprint for white allies who want to know how they can do better, how they can apologise for mistakes, and how they can best support people of colour, and especially Black people.

  • When They Call You A Terrorist  -  Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Patrisse is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and her memoirs are an essential insight into the experiences of too many Black people in America.

  • Are Prisons Obsolete? - Angela Y Davis

It’s not enough to learn about racism and police brutality. We have to be committed to overthrowing the current systems in place and abolishing both the police and prisons. Angela Davis’ seminal work is a short, accessible text on why radical reform is needed in the US and beyond. 

  • The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander’s book places policing and mass incarceration in a historical context, drawing a clear line from slavery to Jim Crow, to the way Black communities are oppressed by Police forces.

  • Policing the Planet - Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton (eds)

This collection brings together scholarly work on prisons and police with essays by people with direct experiences of brutality, and art.  

  • The End of Policing - Alex S. Vitale

This book lays out problems with modern policing and why abolition is necessary. The eBook is currently FREE here:  https://www.versobooks.com/books/2817-the-end-of-policing

Don’t just read these - diversify your reading lists! Read fiction, poetry, plays, by Black people too.

The number of articles by Black people out there are numerous. We can’t link to all of them. But a simple Google search will help. 

Here are some publications you should follow who pay Black folks to write about their experiences:

  • Showing Up For Racial Justice

  • ZORA Magazine

  • Bitch Magazine

  • Black Ballad

  • TheRoot.com

  • gal-dem

Watch: 

There is plenty of content out there which talks about race and the experiences of Black people. Here are some TV series and films you can watch:

  • Just Mercy

  • When They See Us

  • Selma

  • 13th

  • Who Killed Malcolm X?

  • Dear White People

  • Noughts and Crosses

  • I Am Not Your Negro

  • What Happened, Miss Simone?

  • The Kalief Browder Story

  • Strong Island

  • Fruitvale Station

  • Malcolm X

  • Hidden Figures

  • The Hate U Give

  • If Beale Street Could Talk 

  • Little Fires Everywhere

  • Dark Girls

  • Get Out

  • Mudbound

  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

  • Belle

  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Listen:

Listen to Black Artists.

Now is the time to seek out podcasts by Black folks or on racism. Here are some you can start with:

  • About Race w/Reni Eddo-Lodge

  • Identity Politics

  • Beyond Prisons

  • Yo, Is This Racist?

  • Still Processing

  • Growing up with gal-dem

  • The Sista Collective

  • Good Ancestor Podcast w/Layla F. Saad

  • Black Gals Livin’

  • Say Your Mind

  • Breaking Binaries w/Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan

  • Brown Girls Do It (yes, we’re including ourselves)

Teach:

If you’re a parent, it’s also important to teach your kids about what’s happening.

Here is a link to a resource for talking to kids about the protests and race: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FngTHIDmWSLiMpFa_XAhrKsEPrZDnKXFa_bnOb4H_jc/edit?fbclid=IwAR21uTCzacgGfm66nZp0MquYRvCyXre3pALtIxw3KF56Zmrd1LCD_-idtAg

And Twitter user @antisocialbritt has compiled a thread of children’s books on race here:

We just want to sign off by saying that your efforts to support and learn shouldn’t end when the current situation dies down. If you’re committing to anti-racism, you’re in the fight now. If you’re a non-Black person, standing up for Black people isn’t a hobby or a trend. Start now, do better.

And if you fail, or make mistakes, that’s OK. Try again, fail again, fail better. 

Solidarity in the struggle.

Iqra & Alicia