To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.

—Rosa Parks

1.

Learn and listen to Black people

Black people have been speaking up about racism for a long, long time. We all must do our best to learn about the issues and listen to Black people who have first-hand experience in facing and actively fighting racism.

Listen to the Black people in your life: friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, family. Make an extra effort to listen with empathy and a genuine desire to learn.

If someone says Black Lives Matter, do not respond with "What about All Lives? Don't all lives matter?" Of course they do, but this type of response is making a false equivalency and is part of the problem.

Below is an incomplete list of leading voices and powerful books, films, and documentaries. Take time to learn from them and others. Listen and truly hear what is being said.

Photo of Dr. Bernice King

Dr. Bernice King

Minister, CEO of The King
Center, daughter of MLK Jr.
Photo of Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson

Public interest lawyer,
Author, Founder of EJI
Photo of Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza

Organizer, Writer, Co-founder #BlackLivesMatter
Photo of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Author, Historian,
and Professor
Photo of Deray McKesson

DeRay Mckesson

Activist, Author, Co-Founder
Campaign Zero
Photo of Sherrilyn Ifill

Sherrilyn Ifill

President & Director-Counsel
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Photo of Michael Tubbs

Michael Tubbs

Mayor of Stockton, CA
Forbes 30 under 30
Photo of Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

Writer, Producer, Director
Emmy, BAFTA, Peabody Winner
Book cover of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
by Michelle Alexander
Book cover of How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
by Ibram X. Kendi
Book cover of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Book cover of When they Call You a Terrorist by Patrisee Cullors
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Cover for the film "I Am Not Your Negro" by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck
James Baldwin
Raoul Peck
Cover of the film "Selma", directed by Ava DuVernay
Directed by
Ava DuVernay
Cover of the Netflix series "Self Made"
Kasi Lemmons
DeMane Davis
Cover of Netflix documentary "13th", directed by Ava DuVernay
Directed by
Ava DuVernay
Cover of the film "Just Mercy", directed by Destin Cretton
Bryan Stevenson
Destin Cretton
Cover for the documentary "Teach Us All"
Directed by
Sonia Lowman
Cover for the Netflix documentary series "The Innocence Files"
Liz Garbus, Alex Gibney,
Roger Ross Williams
Cover for the documentary "She Did That"
Created by
Renae Bluitt

2.

Speak up and vote: Silence implies acceptance

Speaking up is one of the first steps you can and should take often. But we also must vote for meaningful and specific policy changes. Talk without any action is cheap——we must all vote for change.

We must push for government and corporate policies that: •Promote greater income equality •Promote equity and inclusion •Ensure police reform •Hold police, prosecutors, and others in power accountable for their actions

Below are several important policy changes that are necessary to help bring real and meaningful progress for all. Keep reading and use the "Contact Your Reps" button to find your representatives.

Contact your representatives and tell them you want them to support these policies. We should also think about how our schools and companies can improve and push for change there.

Limit Use of Force
By Police

Use of Force policies vary from department to department. We must demand clearer and better Use of Force policies to help lower the unacceptable numbers of civilian deaths and injuries.

End Qualified
Immunity

Qualified Immunity is an unconstitutional legal doctrine shielding police and other government officials from being held accountable. An upcoming house bill to end this has bipartisan support.

End For-profit
police practices

Some police departments require officers to issue a certain # of tickets. Even worse, civil asset forfeiture allows police to take your property and money without due process.

End Broken
windows Policing

Some departments have their priorities backwards, focusing on non-issues (like loitering or jaywalking) while failing in other areas (e.g. the U.S. has thousands of untested rape kits).

Rewrite Police
Union Contracts

Police unions have a huge amount of influence and use that power to make it virtually impossible to keep bad cops off the force (e.g. read about 'Florida's Worst Cop' here).

Demilitarize
the police

Police departments across the U.S. are getting military weapons and equipment and using them in our neighborhoods. This can lead to more civilian deaths and violent behavior by police.

Eliminate
No-Knock Raids

No-knock raids have killed completely innocent adults, children, and their pets. This killed Breonna Taylor: cops, looking for drugs, went to the wrong house and shot her while she slept.

Require community
oversight

In the U.S., fewer than 1 in 12 complaints of police misconduct result in any disciplinary action against the officer(s) responsible. Community oversight can help improve police accountability.

Check Your Reps' Records

Screenshot of the ACLU Scorecard showing Alabama representatives
We need to ensure our legislators protect civil liberties. The ACLU Scorecard is one quick way to see how senators and representatives voted on these issues.

Vote, Vote, Vote

Photo of a protester's sign saying "We March, We Vote, We Run You Out"
Are you registered to vote? If not, you should register NOW. Check to see the issues and candidates you can vote on, make your decisions, and get ready to vote!

4.

Support Black Businesses and ENTREPRENEURS

Many small businesses are in trouble because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of buying most things from big corporations, try supporting small businesses.

Below are a few examples of Black-owned small businesses and links to even longer lists of Black-owned businesses.

Afia's Leaf

Herbal Supplements

BLK & Bold

Coffee & Tea

Essentially True

Feminine Care

Fitnesse

Athletic bands & program

Palmer Powered
Solutions

Business, IP, and Estate Law

Char Media
Personal Branding

PR & Brand Management

NYA RÉSUMÉ
WRITING

Professional résumé writing

Keen Management
Group

Business Consulting

And Many More...

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

—Maya Angelou

1. Listen & Learn2. Speak Up & Vote3. Give4. Buy5. More