In my social circles online and in person, I’ve seen and heard people wondering what they can do in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I certainly can’t claim to speak for the movement, but from what I’ve heard and read from other participants, I’ve compiled a short, non-exhaustive list of policies you can support to end police profiling, brutality, and impunity against Black folks in the US.
Of course, changing policy is only one way to take action on this issue. At the heart of this is changing the value placed on Black lives, by society, by individuals, and by institutions. There are also non-policy-focused ways you can affect change, like helping change attitudes among your personal social network,donating to organizations leading the movement or to the victims and victims’ families, speaking out publicly against racism whenever you see it, and participating in actions out in the streets. If you’re White and wondering what to do, here are twelve ideas to get you started.
1.Establishing citizen review boards
Citizen review boards with firing power can create consequences for police brutality that the current system fails to do. Here’s one example of what that would look like. I’ve also heard people advocate for a federal division to prosecute local law enforcement violence, perhaps in the Civil Rights section of the Justice Department.
2. Demilitarization of police
Call your Congressional representatives in support of H. R. 5478, to end “Program 1033” which allows the Pentagon to sell war equipment to local police stations. The bill is bipartisan, but right now Congressional Republicans are blocking it. Find out which reps are blocking it and start calling campaigns in their districts. You can also advocate for demilitarization from a local level–find out whether your municipality participates in 1033 and pressure them not to. Continue reading