Freeway

Most people I know, are trying to make sure that they contribute to the BLM movement, police brutality protests and general anti-racist stance, in any way they can.

I’ve been a part of and seen so many conversations where people are stressed, wanting to do more, but not knowing what that “more” thing is and second-guessing what they’re currently doing. I’ve seen the distress from folks who are absolutely willing, but due to physical restrictions or mental health, are unable to support in the exact same manner their peers are. 

But support looks different, for different people, and if there’s a will, there’s definitely a way. So let’s find a way for everyone.

Obviously, protesting is one of the main ways to support; if you are able, please do so. Make sure you come prepared with supplies; milk or solutions to help with tear gas, turn off your phone’s location, cover-up any distinctive features, stay hydrated, wear a mask (for Rona protection and to conceal identity), try to not go alone, have an escape plan and tell someone where you are, just in case. Be smart, but pull up!

If you are unable to be on the frontlines, consider supporting those who are. Can you drop off supplies to them? Transport people? What if you’re not able to have a physical presence? Donate to someone/an org who can. Is money tight? Consider opening up your doors to those who may need relief from the elements, or from the brutality that they are out protesting against. Not comfortable with that? I get it. Be a lookout. Set-up a FB page where you can/people can alert protestors to unsafe conditions, incoming force. 

Perhaps, the only way you can support is with your wallet. Drop those coins, if you can! Donate to your local BLM chapters, or to bail funds or directly to people you know that are also making an impact. Find Black businesses to support.

Donate your skills. This is something that people so often forget about.

If you’re a lawyer, offer pro-bono representation to those arrested for protesting.

Medical professional? Set-up a designated medical area, and bring some co-workers to help provide care.

Photographers, capture and share what’s unfolding, to the world. We need to see it.

Artists, whether you’re a digital artist, painter, chalk artist, pencil sketch artist, graffiti artist, etc, create art that people can use on their signs, on their clothes and to commemorate those who have died by the hands of the police.

Knitters and seamstresses, can you create masks for those who don’t have any?

Maybe you can put together gloves that can be used to safely pick up tear gas canisters.

Influencers..influence. Seriously, use your platforms to make change. Engage your followers. Get them to support.

Cosplayers, you all are some of the most creative people I know. Any tips on how to convert household items into wearable protection or shields? Tell us. If you can help make some, that’s even better.

Fellow writers and bloggers, use your words to document what’s going on. Tell our stories. Draft prose and poetry that encapsulates our emotions.

Cooks, how about making meals for those protesting?

Woodworkers and metalworkers, where y’all at? I’m looking at you all for some serious barriers to be made, or storage crates, or shields or whatever you all can make, which I’m sure I’m none the wiser to.

My meme makers, you, too, have a place in the movement. Laughter is one of the ways we destress and cope. Hell, for me, it’s self-care. Create your finest shareable memes. Rememeber to consider your intersection, and don’t go from funny to offensive.

All my generally crafty folk, do what you do best. Do you have an idea for headgear that will conceal identity (if need be), but mostly protect the wearer? What about the skills, materials and time to create it? We stan crafty folks.

One word of caution though, you are donating your skills, so making money off of any of this isn’t advised. If you need to charge enough to cover materials, do so. If you are making money to then donate to an organization, again go ahead.

What if you don’t necessarily have any crafty skills, aren’t able to help monetarily or protest? Think about using your time. Help organize events, make phone calls to politicians, get the word out, share the latest news. 

Maybe you’re like okay, Janay, but I don’t have the spoons to interact with people all the time or maybe you have social anxiety. I get it, your mental/emotional health is important; so write emails to your senator, your mayor. Add your name to useful petitions. Flex your anti-racist stance and report racist comments online. Take screenshots and send them to pages who out racist people.

And something we should all be doing, is challenging racist/anti-black views within our own family and friend circles. Call them out. Tell them why they’re wrong. Attempt to educate, and if that does not work, cut them out of your life, if necessary.

It’s all a matter of finding your lane. And I promise you, there’s a lane for everyone. If you’re like me, it’s a 5-lane, no speed-limit freeway. I’m using my words, donating money, helping support others from the sidelines, seeing if there are any protests I can take part in and directly contributing to people. But if yours is a one-lane scenic country road, that’s okay too. Do as much as you possibly can.

And to my Black and brown people, those directly impacted by all of this, remember to be gentle with yourselves. If all you can do is keep yourself afloat, find moments of happiness to cling onto and love on your babies and your family; know that, that’s enough. You’re enough.

janay

When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.

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