“so we protest and march at rallies…then what? how does that change things?”
these thoughts from my partner about the protests occurring since michael brown’s murder reminded me that many folks may want to join the movement to end police brutality, but aren’t clear on the importance of political organizing or the steps to take.
i’m sending encouragement and love to those new to movement building and share the recommendations below on how to capitalize on this critical moment:
1. know the facts. it’s important that we know the facts surrounding not just mike brown’s murder, but also those of countless other black men and women who have fallen victim to the police. for quick references, check colorlines, the root, salon and an amazing article titled “this is why we’re mad about the shooting of mike brown” on jezebel.
2. be critical. what do claims of looting and mike brown stealing cigarellos from a convenience store (that didn’t call the police) have to do with his murder? be a critical consumer of information and notice how those in power will criminalize a victim before taking decisive action to pursue justice.
3. go beyond mainstream media. some of the most comprehensive accounts of what’s happening in ferguson aren’t coming from fox news or cnn, but folks who are on the frontlines and reporting live. these twitter accounts are my favorite sources: @antoniofrench, @felonious_munk, @awkward_duck and @trymainelee.
4. use social media wisely. hashtags are an invaluable resource. by simply clicking #fergusonsolidarity, #ripmikebrown, #mikebrown, #handsup, #dontshoot and countless others people around the world can get the latest news and stay connected. it’s also a channel to display demands to elected officials.
5. plan an action. but first, pay attention to those in ferguson. take the lead of those on the ground in ferguson when planning a solidarity action in your city and determining your demands. i highly recommend checking out the dream defender’s tips on the subject.
6. remember power concedes nothing without a demand. this brings me to my next point: rallies can galvanize the masses and bond those pursuing justice; however, they should not just be chanting sessions. while you have a microphone and people’s attention, state your demands clearly. here’s a list of the initial demands from community members in ferguson that was shared on twitter:
7. brace yourself. if you plan to play a leadership role in a direct action or protest, plan beyond the actual event. those protestors who are inspired to do more will need to know your next steps. don’t lose the momentum.
8. make a financial contribution. reach out to those on the ground in ferguson via your direct connections or social media and find out how you can help fund their movement. there are suggestions going around on twitter if you’d like to learn more.
9. stay woke. there are interlocking systems of oppression facing black and brown communities throughout this country, and your hometown or neighborhood could be the next ferguson, missouri. get involved now with organizations serving youth, pursuing food justice, seeking to end police brutality and other causes to serve as an agent of change.
10. never forget. now that your consciousness has been raised about the plight black people face in american society, never forget. righteous indignation should propel us to pursue social justice by any means necessary. as a voter, consumer and community member, seize your power.
let’s stand in solidarity with the residents of ferguson and force the world to end the system of white supremacy by recognizing the value of black lives.