Join the fight for change.
From climate change to the prison industrial complex to the fact that billionaires exist while other people starve, the world's problems can feel overwhelming.
But the truth is that change starts with one small step, and you don't have to quit your day job in order to maximize your impact in the realm of social change. The truth is, if everyone dedicated some time each day to working on social change, the world would probably be a very different place. Here are seven ways you can help the world this week.
Here are eight small ways to take action and help the world this week.
A lot of horrible things are happening in the world right now. Want to get involved and make a difference? Ready to see a better future come to pass?
It won't happen quickly, though small changes can create movements. Still, doing something is better than doing nothing. If you're looking for a way to take action online right now but need a place to start, here are a few suggestions of ways to do something meaningful this week.
Amnesty International has an amazingly well-designed volunteer portal that lets you choose whether you'd like to take 5 minutes, an hour, or longer to fight for human rights. There are so many opportunities on their website, from signing petitions (questionably effective) to actually becoming a grassroots advocate. While joining for the long-haul is always the best move, signing a bunch of petitions can't hurt, right?
College application tutor
If you're looking to donate some time while online, or want to offer your life skills to an impressionable youth, the Internet offers many ways to become a volunteer tutor, college application mentor, or Big Brother/Big Sister-type figure. You can volunteer to tutor low-income students on upchieve.org, help aspiring college students apply to school, or even join Big Brothers Big Sisters' virtual program.
Donate Your Graduation Gowns to COVID-19 First Responders
Somehow or other, many COVID-19 first responders are still without proper gear. Gowns4good.net allows you to give a healthcare worker the gown that's probably hanging in your closet and tormenting you with memories of a time when you were optimistic and free. Graduation gowns, with their long sleeves and zippered access, are efficient PPE gowns, so you'll be helping out one of our healthcare workers and upcycling while you're at it.
Send Letters and Postcards to Voters
We're approaching one of the most important elections of our lifetimes, and you're not alone if you feel you truly have to do something. You could join the organization Indivisible's groups across the country and write handwritten postcards to swing state voters begging them to get Big Orange the hell out—well, you'll be provided with kinder words to write that are proven to actually persuade voters to vote blue.
You can also register to vote and join a Get Out the Vote campaign. Not inspired by Joe Biden? Remember that a vote for president is also a vote for all the down-ballot candidates who run smaller but incredibly important offices. Check out local groups that fight for progressive champions to get involved in local politics.
Attend and Support Protests and Movements in Your Area
Though the media frenzy around Black Lives Matter has died down, protests are still going strong in cities across the world.
If you're able, attend in-person protests; or, if you're looking for other ways to support, there are still many ways to support the mass movement for justice, from calling your reps to attending virtual events. Just research the events happening in your area and be aware of what's going on.
In NYC the vitriol has shifted slightly from a sole focus on the police towards anger at all the city's billionaires, who keep getting richer while the city suffers. Check out Housing Justice for All, or stay abreast of the momentum in your area.
Public movements and public pressure works. So keep up the pressure.
ICE Neighborhood Patrol
In the middle of a devastating pandemic, when many undocumented people weren't even receiving any government benefits at all and couldn't sign up for aid programs, ICE is still at it, evicting people, tearing families apart, caging children, and being horrible.
If you want a specific event to attend: DSA is hosting a phone zap for Free Them All, an organization that demands incarcerated immigrants be released, on Friday at noon.
You could also watch this video, narrated by Fiona Apple, about how to document an ICE arrest.
Learn About Harm Reduction and Naxolone/Narcan
America is still in the midst of an opioid crisis, and during COVID-19, U.S. drug overdoses have reached record highs.
Harm reduction is one way to help people struggling with drug abuse—and you'd be surprised at how many people are. (If you're struggling, you're not alone). If you want to help, you could learn about responding to an overdose and you can start carrying Naxolone or Narcan, drugs that counter the toxic effects of opioids. Look up your local harm reduction group, learn more here, sign up for a training here, and of course, you can always donate.
August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, so this month is also a great time to educate yourself on prevention and to share information with others.
It's also always a good time to learn about alternatives to punishment, such as harm reduction and restorative justice. These strategies can be practiced on micro-levels (i.e. "calling in" instead of "calling out") or on the scale of the entire criminal justice system.
Work on Yourself
Change starts internally, and time spent working on your internal world is never time wasted. Just imagine how different movements and governments would be if all leaders had done internal work and had healed themselves before they tried to lead the world.
Healing your own wounds can be one of the most helpful things you can do in the long term. Justice movements and campaigns often fail in the wide scheme of things because they get destroyed by egos or corruption or savior complexes or poor communication.
But personal healing can be the foundation of genuine connection and community-building, which is where real change begins. Try therapy, find God, check in with your friends, take a day off; you and everyone you know deserves it.
It's the sad truth of capitalism: Money sometimes goes further than everything else. So if you're able, keep on donating—this list will show you how to make sure your donations reach the most marginalized. You could also set a goal for an amount you'd like to donate, such as 10% of your total income.
Here are five places to donate to this week:
Abundant Beginnings educates children about environmentalism, community, and liberation. It's a Black-led organization that invests in raising future activists and compassionate people.
The Center for Popular Democracy supports progressive causes and frontline communities.
Project South is a movement dedicated to fighting social, economic, and political problems in the American South.
The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana is donating to relief efforts at the site of Hurricane Laura.
The Climate Emergency Fund supports youth climate activists in their work to stop climate change on a global scale.
Change doesn't happen solely through massive, revolutionary actions. It's about starting with one small step and then taking those steps over and over and over again.
Sometimes the amount of change that the world needs feels totally overwhelming, and it can be impossible to know where to begin.
But the truth is that change doesn't happen through massive, revolutionary action. It's about starting with one small step and then taking those steps over and over and over again.
This roundup is by no means meant to be all-encompassing. Instead, these are six steps to take if you don't know where to start on your journey towards fighting for true justice. These are jumping-off points you're frustrated by the world's ills and you want to fight, but are searching for a place to start.
1. Fight for Breonna Taylor
This week, many Black Lives Matter organizers are concentrating their efforts on accountability for cops who killed Breonna Taylor.
Breonna Taylor’s family renewed their pleas for justice, 5 months after her killing by the police. “At this point i… https://t.co/teTm4pwadf— The New York Times (@The New York Times)1597334407.0
Breonna Taylor was shot to death by police in her own home 5 months ago today. All of the officers have walked free… https://t.co/dNNM0aiogE— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren)1597341473.0
If you'd like to help, there are many ways to do so. Here's an easy way to help from home: Reach out to www.powertous.org (email [email protected]) if you're interested in writing postcards to Mayor Greg Fisher demanding justice for Breonna. Plus, this is a great excuse to buy some stamps and support the postal service.
You can also visit this website and use their script to make calls and send emails to relevant people in charge of handling this case.
You can also use this resource from KDJA Hour of Action to call, email, and tweet your support for Breonna as well as Saraya Reed, a 14-year-old Black girl incarcerated after experiencing a mental health crisis, and Matthew Rushin, an autistic 18-year-old black man who received a 50-year sentence after a car accident.
Meet Saraya. This is part of her story. We are fighting for this story to end in victory! https://t.co/MjRLjqEdEE— Amber Patrice Riley (@Amber Patrice Riley)1597084149.0
2. Help Support Beirut
Beirut suffered a horrible explosion this week, and hundreds of people's livelihoods have been destroyed. Residents affected by the crisis say that anyone who wants to help should only donate to the local Red Cross, as many other funds won't actually make it to the people in need. Donate here.
Operation Help Lebanon: Medical supplies: https://t.co/WJ8sv9eu94 Red Cross (no login required):… https://t.co/qkYks80oUA— Anonymous (@Anonymous)1596577734.0
3. Join (or Start) a Local Mutual Aid Network
Mutual aid is a practice rooted in community exchange and the concept of "solidarity, not charity." If you live in NYC, your neighborhood almost certainly has a mutual aid network—and Mutual Aid NYC has a weekly Wednesday call if you want a place to start.
You can join one and spend time delivering groceries to neighbors in need (most are reimbursed!), compensating neighbors for their deliveries, or organizing mutual aid relief efforts. Hey, you might even get to know your neighbors for once.
Mutual aid networks have cropped up across the US and world during COVID-19, and it's quite possible that your neighborhood has one. If not, you could even gather some of your neighbors and start your own. Here's some advice on how to start a mutual aid network via Slack, via Bed-Stuy Strong, a massive mutual aid network born in early COVID-19 days in NYC.
4. Support the #fundexcludedworkers Movement
The Fund Excluded Workers movement is a push to tax billionaires in order to provide emergency income to New Yorkers unable to receive unemployment benefits. According to their website, 9 out of 10 Black and brown immigrant families surveyed reported job loss or loss of income—but only 5% reported that they received unemployment insurance.
5. Join a local organizing group
The best way to stay plugged into organizing efforts and to avoid feeling totally overwhelmed by all these different causes is to join a local organizing group. That way, you'll be able to build relationships and join teams that are already plugged into this work. Consider joining your local chapter of Sunrise Movement, DSA, the Movement for Black Lives, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), or another organization that appeals to you. Just start by signing up for their email lists and going to some of their trainings, and you'll find yourself with literally endless amounts of work to do. We are so much more powerful together than we are alone.
6. Keep Learning: Read About Black August, Black Women's Equal Pay, and More
This month is Black August, a month dedicated to commemorating the Black radical tradition. Check out Noname's reading list and get educated about what they didn't teach you during Black history month.
We are excited for our next Black Feminist Political Education event for #BlackAugust on “Radical African Feminist… https://t.co/G04m0J0dFq— Black Women Radicals (@Black Women Radicals)1597252759.0
While you're at it, read, tweet, and speak out about the movement for Black women's equal pay.
Today is #BlackWomensEqualPay Day, when Black women’s pay catches up to what white men were paid in 2019. That's ne… https://t.co/GkbtrSPzHf— National Women's Law Center (@National Women's Law Center)1597325416.0
And whenever you're able, attend online workshops and educate yourself however you can about the history and current work of activist movements. The inimitable AOC is offering a variety of organizing workshops in the coming months, so check those out and keep it up!
7. Redistribute the Wealth: Give Directly to Those In Need
If you have the means or come from generational wealth, it's always a great idea to give money directly to people in need. There are a variety of wealth redistribution groups on Facebook, such as Ask For Money & Help and GoFundMe -> Cash App -> PayPal Donations Platform. The page @blackwomxnexhale also shares requests directly from people, or you could literally just search "Venmo" or "cashapp" on Twitter. If you're looking to make a bigger commitment to wealth redistribution, check out Resource Generation.
*THIS IS A FINANCIAL SUPPORT THREAD FOR BLACK TRANS WOMEN ONLY* Drop ya pay links sistas! I'll be tagging cis and non-Black folx.— Nyla Sampson (she/her) (@Nyla Sampson (she/her))1558535007.0