Support Black Lives Matter in Austin
The movement aims to bring justice, healing and freedom to Black people
By Vanessa Blankenship
Photographs by Josiah Jackson and Hayli Rudolph
As Austinites continue to navigate the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, waves of demonstrators filled with anger, fear and confusion poured through the streets of downtown Austin to protest the hatred and injustice that have infected our nation long before COVID-19.
Sunday saw the third consecutive day of demonstrations in Central Texas, with thousands of civilians surrounding the State Capitol and Austin Police Department headquarters. The crowds called for an end to police brutality, recently reignited by the unwarranted murders of George Floyd, who died in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and Michael Ramos, an Austin local who was shot and killed by a police officer in April.
In response to Floyd’s death, former president Barack Obama issued the following statement on Twitter: ‘’This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better.”
Here in Austin, there are many ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement and take a stand against racial injustice. If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve rounded up a few resources we’re using to educate ourselves and stand up against racial injustices. At Tribeza, we always hope to uplift and inspire our readers by amplifying all voices in our community; this list is not perfect, so we welcome other initiatives and ideas to help make us all better allies. You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org to keep the conversation going: We are eager to listen and ready to use our platform to bring about real change.
Get Involved with Local and National Organizations
Black Lives Matter
After the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2013, co-founders Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi established the Black Lives Matter movement as a platform to combat racism. Today, the organization is one of the most influential social movements of the post-civil rights era. Donate directly to fund the Black Lives Matter movement here or reach out to Black Lives Matter Austin to contribute to local initiatives.
Austin Justice Coalition
Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) is a grassroots, activist-led organization addressing criminal justice reform, as well as economic and social injustice in Austin. Offering a wide range of mentorships, events and programs, AJC serves to help those affected by systematic and institutional racism. Learn more about AJC’s mission to improve the quality of life for people of color in Austin by spotlighting the detrimental impact of gentrification and a lack of opportunities in local educational, economic and health systems. Take action now by signing up for their newsletter, attending or volunteering at an event and donating directly.
Campaign Zero – a police reform group – breaks down its policy solutions with a straightforward 10-step plan to help end police brutality. With solutions “informed by data, research and human rights principles,” the resource contains helpful information to familiarize yourself with local laws and representatives, as well as ways to track state-to-state legislations.
Black Visions Collective
A Minnesota-based black, trans and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund that “is committed to a long-term vision in which ALL Black lives not only matter, but are able to thrive.” To help the organization continue its mission to stop oppression and violence, make a donation here.
With a team of artists and journalists determined to expose the “root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues,” the nonprofit media organization covers topics from police brutality to white supremacy. The group is taking donations through its website.
National Police Accountability Project
Founded by the National Lawyers Guild, the National Police Accountability Project supports and helps people find legal counsel while protecting “the human and civil rights of individuals in their encounters with law enforcement and detention facility personnel.” Learn more about the organization here.
Minnesota Freedom Fund
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is a community-based nonprofit that seeks to “end discriminatory, coercive and oppressive jailing” by paying criminal bail and immigration bonds for people arrested during demonstrations. Make a donation today.
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a global nonprofit committed to protecting the freedom of the press. Currently, the organization is helping journalists who are being targeted while covering protests across the nation. Click here to get involved or donate. America’s largest group for journalists of color, the National Association of Black Journalists, helps support diversity in newsrooms and media publications.
Sign these Petitions
Color of Change
Civil rights group Color of Change demands that all officers involved in the death of George Floyd be charged and brought to justice. The group also calls for the release of protesters detained in demonstrations. Add your voice to more than two million signatures on the petition.
Justice for George Floyd
Sign the Justice for George Floyd petition on Change.org to bring accountability to the officers who played a role in George Floyd’s murder. With more than 10 million signatures so far, the petition seeks to get the attention of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and District Attorney Mike Freeman to fire and charge all officers involved in George Floyd’s death. A recent press release from Change.org confirmed the petition as the most-signed petition in its history; visit the organization’s Facebook page to join the conversation and sign similar petitions for Breonna Taylor.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The NAACP’s goal is to create a better society where all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. Learn more and sign their petition here.
Justice for Ahmaud
Two white supremacists killed Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging near his home in Brunswick, Georgia. Sign the Justice for Ahmaud petition to make a difference.
Stand With Bre
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old medical technician, was killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who broke into her apartment in March. Sign the Stand With Bre petition to seek justice for Taylor and her family.
Resources for Yourself and Loved Ones
Local networking nonprofit #bossbabesatx strives to serve women and nonbinary creatives by hosting conferences, meet-ups, festivals and other events to give locals a place to learn, connect and empower each other. The bbatx platform, which provides “a platform to address and combat issues that affect gender justice like sexism, racism, inequity and violence,” is offering an extensive collection of resources and recommendations for anti-racism work.
Ibram X. Kendi
Former Texas Book Festival author Ibram X. Kendi is renowned for his work and research on anti-racism. His books “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” show critical ways to approach racial injustice. Also known as a phenomenal public speaker and professor, Kendi is one of the leading voices for the anti-racism movement. For more books to educate yourself on systematic racism, Kendi curated a reading list for the New York Times back in 2019. The Texas Book Festival also shared an excellent collection of resources to help readers better understand the crisis and the history of racism in the United States.
Children’s Books About Race and Racism
Conversations involving race and discrimination are crucial for parents to have with their children, even if they’re not a racial minority. If you are having trouble answering the hard questions and need help making sense of the world for your little ones, we recommend checking out this reading list of children’s books by EmbraceRace that encourages children of all ages to engage in the racial justice movement.
Shine Brighter Together podcast host Monique Melton believes “it’s not all about your comfort, but it’s about your growth.” The author, brand strategist and speaker create ways for others to have open conversations about anti-racism, personal growth, diversity and relationships. Melton also leads a 12-week program called the “Unity Over Comfort Experience,” where participants will learn how to identify and eliminate racism in their daily lives.