This week, after the needless death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police, protesters have taken to the streets during a pandemic to demand justice. (According to the New York Times, Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck, was brought into custody Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.) Floyd's death is not an outlier in America, and compels us again to think about what it means to be disenfranchised in and by a criminal justice system that regularly endangers the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, in the White House, the racism of the president was on full display Friday morning, as Donald Trump took aim at protesters, tweeting that "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd" and endorsed the idea of state-sanctioned violence: "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," he tweeted. (He has since attempted to walk back that idea.)
Many people, at home or otherwise maintaining social distancing because of the coronavirus, might be feeling powerless. Thankfully, there are a handful of organizations doing the real, meaningful, slow work of advancing justice and pushing for a better America—whether that means providing bail for protesters, empowering black and brown communities to know their legal rights, or joining the fight against voter suppression. If you are in a position to give, here are five organizations worth supporting.
If You Want to Provide Bail for Protesters:
Minnesota Freedom Fund
The MFF is a local organization that pays for criminal bails and immigration bonds, and has vowed to help free protesters incarcerated by police. As of Friday there have been thousands of new donors to the fund, with many contributors on social media matching pledges within their networks. Give here.
If You Want to Help Protesters with Legal Fees:
Know Your Rights Camp
Founded by Colin Kaepernick, the Know Your Rights Camp works to empower black and brown communities by providing free education and other resources. Its latest initiative in Minnesota is focused on hiring defense attorneys for anyone arrested protesting police brutality. Donate here.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU is a nationwide nonprofit that operates in all 50 states and provides legal assistance wherever civil liberties are at risk. "Make no mistake: George Floyd should be alive today," ACLU policing policy advisor Paige Fernandez said in a statement. "The officers responsible must be held accountable. The public has seen the video. To call this a 'medical incident' is an insult." You can donate to the local chapter in Minnesota here.
If You Want Every Vote to Count:
The dearth of humane political leadership in moments of crisis can make anyone feel hopeless. Fair Fight, an organization focused on free and fair elections, was founded by Georgia democrat Stacey Abrams with a mission to end voter suppression and elect more progressive voices to public office. You can donate here.
If You Want to Ensure the Freedom of the Press:
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
With the media a frequent target of the president, press freedoms are more vital than ever. (On Friday alone, Minnesota state police arrested a black CNN reporter live on air for no clear reason.) CPJ is an independent organization that fights against press freedom violations worldwide, both through diplomatic efforts and by working with local legal organizations. Donate here.