When Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, the country erupted in a righteous rage that was a long time coming.
As we listened to these voices, we recognized we had not done nearly enough to support the Black community and combat systemic racism.
To show our members we are serious about doing better, we committed to including more Black-owned businesses in our supply chain. We also began hiring a diversity-focused HR manager.
Our team wanted to demonstrate solidarity that went beyond words, so we donated $10,000 to the NAACP. In response, several members of our community recommended that we broaden our impact by donating to additional organizations that receive significantly less funding than the NAACP, despite being just as crucial and deserving.
To thoroughly understand this issue and focus our resources, we sent a survey to our members and asked which additional nonprofits we should fund. Based on the results, we started sending $1,000 a day — for seven days — to each of the below organizations.
If you want to join us in empowering the Black community and demanding justice for innocent people like George Floyd, please learn more about these wonderful charities, and consider donating yourself. Every dollar adds up, and it’s no exaggeration to say that your money could save a life.
In 2013 George Zimmerman stalked and murdered Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager who, on his way home, walked through a gated community. When Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges, several Black activists and writers responded by founding Black Lives Matter.
This simple statement has become a powerful movement that has spread to Canada and the United Kingdom. Black Lives Matter organizers protect Black communities, fight to unseat anti-Black politicians, champion legislation that benefits Black people and provide thought leadership on Black intellectual issues. Their ultimate goal is to create a “world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive.”
Second only to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU was the most popular choice among our survey respondents. At first we were surprised. The ACLU does not focus primarily on any one ethnic group. We struggled to understand how providing them financial support would benefit the Black community as much as donating to an organization like Black Lives Matter.
After conducting more research, however, we realized why the ACLU might be positively impacting the Black community more than other groups. The ACLU dedicates their money and manpower to combatting many of society’s ills, and more than half of these issues disproportionately destroy the lives of Black people.
Here’s a summary that shows how we drew the connection:
- Capital punishment (death penalty) — Black people account for 13% of the U.S. population, yet they make up 42% of death row and 35% of those executed.
- Criminal law reform — According to the ACLU, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuanna possession than a white person, despite approximately equal rates of use.
- Voting rights — Voter suppression disproportionately impacts Black Americans.
Unfortunately there are many more issues we could list. You get the picture, though.
Backed by 1.7 million community members, Color of Change’s mission is to “create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.” Their team prioritizes these key domains:
- Criminal Justice
- Culture Change and Media Justice
- Voting Freedom and Democracy
- Tech Justice
- White Nationalism
- Economic Justice
They have also developed several successful initiatives:
- Democracy & Census: “Black Brunches” events that bring people together, register them to vote and ensure they are counted in the U.S. census.
- COC (Color of Change) Hollywood: becoming involved in Hollywood projects to promote inclusion of Black employees and creative input
- Winning Justice: pushing prosecutors and candidates to adopt policies that benefit the Black community
- Not To Be Trusted: using a “News and Accuracy Report Card” to combat inaccurate reporting on Black people, as well as harmful misrepresentations
- OrganizeFor: petition platform and training people to be effective organizers
Founded in 1989 by lawyer and “Just Mercy” author Bryan Stevenson, EJI provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. The organization is not specifically for the Black community. Because of the systemic racism we mentioned earlier, however, many of EJI’s clients are Black.
Another aspect that sets EJI apart is its public facilities, The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Both buildings are located in Montgomery, Alabama. If you’re unable to support their work by visiting and buying tickets, you can shop online.
Campaign Zero is an interactive platform and community that empowers activists to fight against police violence. The organization prides itself on providing thorough research reports that highlight policy problems such as corrupt police unions and poor implementation of body cameras. Donating is simple and quick, especially if you have PayPal.
Similar to some of the other organizations on this list, the SPLC represents all marginalized peoples in the U.S., not only the Black community. Nonetheless, SPLC’s mission of working toward “equal justice and equal opportunity” does tend to support Black people, especially those who are LGBTQ.
The nonprofit pays special attention to the monitoring of hate groups. Hatewatch, their blog, exposes the activities of these racist organizations. The SPLC website also has an interactive Hate Map that displays where these hate groups are located. To prevent hatred from infecting future generations, the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program provides free resources to K-12 educators and encourages them to supplement their curriculums with anti-bias training.
Based in Minnesota, BLVC aims to politically empower local Black communities and foster a new generation of Black leaders. George Floyd moved to Minnesota to build a new life, yet this state is where his life was taken. If there is to be a physical center of this new chapter in the movement for Black equality, it should be in Minnesota. Along with Black Lives Matter, BLVC deserves to become a known and powerful organization.
Only the Beginning
We understand that even this new wave of donations is not enough to do our part. As we continue supporting these allies and making our business more inclusive, we’ll send you updates and ask for more feedback. Thank you for helping us learn.
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