ferguson solidarity: 10 ways to get involved

hands up
“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: demands

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.

with solidarity,


a little link love

just a few links from around the web that made me angry, giggle and feel inspired:

o-GOLD-GRILL-5701. i have to admit that miley cyrus’ new look is giving me life. although it’s rihannaesque, she’s owning a fierce ass haircut and impeccable styling. however, her blatant appropriation of black culture is so reminiscent of vanilla ice’s minstrelsy of the early 1990s until i’m shocked, appalled and confused. no one told her that this was in poor taste and at least a lil racist? the newest iteration of privileged-white-american-cultural imperialism first came to my attention when the root reported on miley cyrus’ article for rock city where she stated, “i want something that sounds urban. i just want something that feels black.” not surprising, as the former disney star’s new pastimes seem to include twerking and sporting a gold grill in her recent video. dondai did the intellectual equivalent of reading miley and all appropriators of black and brown culture over at jezebel: it matters who is doing the appropriating. if a dominant culture fancies some random element (a mode of dress, a manner of speaking, a style of music) of my culture interesting or exotic, but otherwise disdains my being and seeks to marginalize me, it is surely an insult.

2. an ohio school attempted to ban afro puffs and braids because african-american hairstyles are the reason for failing schools, low literacy rates and subpar teachers. i totally made the reason up to sound just as ridiculous as the rule. thankfully, the school quickly retracted it once the media caught wind, claiming the rule was only meant for boys so they could appear “well-groomed.” wait. so boys with braids are poorly groomed? now we shift from racism to ridiculous gender norms. i’m done.