The Resource Kit
“It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.”
BLISS has compiled the following resources of different ways you can engage and contribute to the Black Lives Matter Movement and support yourself and your Black peers.
◦ Activism ◦
Activism may be defined as the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one.
Branches of The BLM Movement
It's important speak on movements like "Defund the Police" and "Black Trans Lives Matter" with some background information beforehand.
Defund the Police is a movement based on reallocating funding within law enforcement. Please take some time to learn more:
"As thousands of protesters across the country have gathered to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other black people killed by the police, a related rallying cry has gained momentum: defund the police. It’s an idea that’s been popular among activists and critics of the criminal-justice system for decades."
How much is your community spending on police? How much do state governments spend on police?
"An examination of government finance data can inform—but in no way settle—larger debates around policing. Government spending on police is not merely a set of numbers but, rather, the culmination of a long history of policy choices, including many rooted in persistent structural racism."
"As nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are met with police brutality, John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing and white supremacy are intertwined, the roadblocks to fixing things, and some potential paths forward."
"If you are interested in joining the movement to defund the police, below are action steps and resources."
Black Trans Lives Matter brings attention to an even more marginalized subset of individuals within the black community who receive less attention in the media:
"Sadly, too often when we talk about Black Lives Matter, all Black lives are not centered. That's especially true when it comes to Black trans people, who are killed and incarcerated at disproportionate rates and don't feel totally included and represented by the BLM movement. But as so many scholars and activists have previously said in one form or another, if your activism isn't intersectional and doesn't include the most at risk communities, then you're not fighting for true equality."
"Still, recent coverage clearly speaks to a longer-term complaint of Black trans activists and their allies—that Black trans lives are commonly erased within power structures and ecosystems across society, from the broader Black Lives Matter movement to the news media. As the recent protests have taken hold, “the narrative about the violence against Black trans people often gets left behind,” Nicole Cardoza writes in the newsletter Anti-Racism Daily. "
“The violence that’s affecting black trans women and black trans folks is finally getting the attention that it deserves,” an organizer of the Brooklyn march said.
"Thousands of New Yorkers gathered to protest in support of Black trans lives"
Breaking The Blue Wall of Silence (also known as blue code and blue shield) is about deconstructing the informal code among the police to "not to report on a colleague's errors, misconducts, or crimes, including police brutality.":
"At 12 years old, I learned about police brutality. When I first saw the video of Eric Garner being thrown to the ground by police officers, I thought it was a movie. Despite knowing that the officers were at fault, I refused to change my internal rhetoric; I thought the media was only portraying the bad side of the people I saw as heroes. Then on July 31, 2017, a police officer shot and killed my cousin, Isaiah Tucker, while he was driving. Isaiah wasn’t just my cousin. He was also a young, unarmed, African-American man. I no longer dreamt of becoming a police officer."
"Police officers cannot remain silent about racial inequalities in the criminal justice system and deaths like George Floyd's in Minneapolis, said Kimberly Gardner, the circuit attorney in St. Louis, Missouri. As the top prosecutor in St. Louis, Gardner said the country has to "attack the systemic racism" in police forces and the court system."
"This paper examines the 'Blue Code of Silence' and its contribution to police corruption. After offering evidence for the existence of such a code, the paper locates the origins of the code in the work and culture of policing. The paper also examines cases, commission reports and an original case study to understand how the code is reinforced. Based on 'participant observation' research of the New York County Prosecutor's Official Corruption Unit, the paper also illustrates how the code impedes investigations by police overseers. Finally, the paper discusses various measures to address the code of silence."
"Research exploring police officers’ understanding of agency rules concerning police misconduct and the extent of their support for these rules. The survey also considered officers’ opinions about appropriate punishment for misconduct, their familiarity with the expected disciplinary threat, their perceptions of disciplinary fairness, and their willingness to report misconduct. The results of this survey have important implications for researchers and policymakers, as well as for police practitioners."
While protests are a very effective way to get involved, please note the following:
• If the protest organizers intended for a peaceful protest- do not engage in any vandalism or violence and call it out when you see it.
• If you are a non-black person, recognize your privilege: ex. There have been many cases when white protesters stand as a barrier in front of black protesters.
What to take/wear:
• Do not wear makeup, contact lenses or jewelry.
• On your arms, write emergency names and contacts in sharpie
• Wear a cotton shirt (or any other comfortable material that will not melt)
• Cover as much skin, tattoos and distinguishing marks as possible
• Carry as little as possible, do not bring large bags, backpacks, purses etc.
• Bottled water
• Try to limit bringing snacks
• Do not have any contraband/weapons on you.
• Do not bring your wallet, instead bring a few bills
• Government-issued ID
-Plain cotton socks & comfortable shoes you don’t mind ruining
-Try to go with a friend & share your location with a few people you trust.
There are several organizations you can donate to. We have included some here, along with their descriptions. Please note that there are several other organizations accepting donations and ensure that your donations are going to a credible organization (always double-check with another source).
A List of Youth-Oriented Community Organizations from NY Mag:
“This fund is established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist our family in the days to come as we continue to seek justice for George. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.”
Warning for violent description:
"Elijah McClain was a kind and gentle 23 year old who worked as a massage therapist in Aurora, Co. In August 2019, Elijah went to the gas station to buy some iced tea for himself and his cousins. Because he suffered from anemia, a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to your body's tissues, he would often wear a ski/runner mask over his face to stay warm. On his way home, the Aurora Police department were called to reports of a "suspicious man", likely due to Elijah wearing his mask for warmth and dancing to the music in his headphones. Elijah was apprehended by a group of three cops, despite committing NO crime and being unarmed. A struggle occurred, and he was held in a very dangerous carotid hold around his neck while he cried for help, cried out that he couldn't breathe, cried out that he was nonviolent and couldn't even kill a fly, and was repeatedly throwing up. Elijah weighed a mere 140 pounds... While 3 Aurora Police Department officers violently restrained him they called Aurora Fire Department who injected him with ketamine even though he was already cuffed, a drug used to tranquilize hoses or in surgeries while properly supervised by anesthesiologist. He went into cardiac arrest, slipped into a coma, and his family was advised to take hi off life support 6 days later... The officers have STILL NOT been charged in taking Elijah's life." JUSTICE FOR ELIJAH
This project works to free innocent victims of mass incarceration as a way to combat the systemic racism that harms many.
“Reclaim the Block is calling on our city to invest in violence prevention, housing, resources for youth, emergency mental health response teams, and solutions to the opioid crisis - not more police. “
Campaign zero overall is an incredible resource for information on the movement, they prioritize these 10 principles as their focus for creating change, “End broken windows policing, community oversight, limit use of force, independently investigate and prosecute, community representation, body cams/ film the police, training, end for-profit policing, demilitarization, fair police union contracts.” For more on what these categories represent there are full explanations on the website.
“BLVC is committed to a long term vision in which ALL Black lives not only matter, but are able to thrive. What we know to be true in order to create this world is that oppressed people, especially Black people, need to build collective power in order to create systems transformation. Through the development of powerful strategic campaigns, we seek to expand the power of Black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.”
“In response to the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been bailing Black mamas and caregivers out of jail since late March and providing them with safe housing, weeks’ worth of groceries and holistic supportive services. Why? Because at a time when society’s instinct is to continue criminalizing and punishing folks — especially Black people — under the guise of public health, we know our folks on the margins of society are most vulnerable to illness and even death during this novel outbreak. That means Black trans folks, caregivers, mamas and women.”
“Unicorn Riot is a decentralized, educational 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization of artists and journalists. Our work is dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world.”
Donate to help their fight in ending state-sanctioned violence and white supremacy. "Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state."
Legal organization fighting for racial justice, donations will help to win legal battles, protect voters, eliminate disparities, and help to create an equal society.
"EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. We’ve earned the top ranking from Charity Navigator and won a Skoll Award for our impact on social justice reform."
For more fundraisers that work to end police brutality, racism, and the systemic oppression of Black people. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/george-floyd-protests-bail-funds-police-brutality-black-lives-matter-1008259/
Petitions can work to create legislative change or even just increase awareness. There are several petitions circulating right now. We have included some here.
"Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was a 19-year old black woman whose life was tragically taken by an unknown man. Salau was an avid protestor for the Black Lives Matter movement, and was also battling homelessness. On June 6th, Salau posted various tweets on her Twitter (@virgingrltoyin) about a man who offered her a ride to church, but ended up molesting her instead. Salau described her location, abuser, the abuser’s apartment, and the vehicle she was in. Salau also reported the assault to the police, and gave DNA evidence. Since that day, she was reported missing. On June 14th, it has been confirmed that Salau’s body was found on a random street.
This young girl cried for HELP and she never got it."
"Robert Fuller was a 23 year old black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California at Poncitlán Square on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 around 4 A.M. His death is getting little to no news coverage by local news, and city officials have presumably ruled his death a suicide and linked his death to the COVID-19 pandemic without proof. During such a heightened time with the Black Lives Matter movement and the city’s quickness to call his death a suicide before any investigation, there is reason to believe that Robert’s death was a lynching."
Breonna Taylor was a first responder and award-winning EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, during the coronavirus pandemic she worked as an essential worker. Until the Louisville Metro Police issued a warrant for drugs that didn’t exist on the night of March 13. Upon entering without warning, they shot 20 times, 8 hit Breonna in her sleep killing her. This petition is fighting for:
“The mayor and City Council address the use of force by LMPD.”
“Fire and revoke the pensions of the officers that murdered Breonna. Arrest, charge, and convict them for this crime.”
“Provide all necessary information to a local, independent civilian community police accountability council #CPAC”
“Create policy for transparent investigation process due to law enforcement misconduct.”
“Drop all charges for Kenneth Walker, Breonna’s boyfriend, who attempted to defend them and their home.” (The charges have been dropped)
“Release the 911 call to the public for accountability.”
“Ahmaud Arbery was jogging when two white supremacists with deep ties to law enforcement grabbed their guns, hunted him down, and killed him. We are working directly with the family and their attorney to seek immediate justice for Ahmaud. Each signature added will also send a letter to officials who have the power to make a difference in this case.” After you sign the petition, there is the opportunity to donate.
"Floyd" to 55156.
“George was handcuffed and restrained and being completely cooperative when this all went down. The officer put his knee on George’s neck choking him for minutes on minutes while George screamed that he could not breathe. Bystanders beg for the police officer to take his knee off George’s neck, but the officer didn’t listen and continued to choke him. Not that it would matter at all, but George was not even wanted for a violent crime. A grocery store that he was signing a bad check. We are trying to reach the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately.”
“There have veen various occurences where peaceful protestors have been shot with rubber bullets by the police, despite them doing nothing wrong to begin with. Multiple people have been majorly injured from these rubber bullets! Rubber bullets can be extremely lethal. They may cause bone fractures, injuries to internal organs, or even death. It’s been proven that rubber and plastic bullets are too dangerous for crowd control and have even been banned in various regions.”
"When Julius Jones was 19-years-old, he was convicted of a murder he says he did not commit. I need your help to save his life. Julius has lived on death row for almost 20 years, and is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. He is allowed one hour of sunlight a day, and three showers a week. Every minute we wait to take action, Julius is suffering. Every second that goes by brings Julius closer to being executed for a crime he didn’t commit.” For more information on the case, click the link below, there is detailed evidence proving that he is not guilty. Help save an innocent man's life.
You can personally contact government officials by calling/emailing them. We have compiled a list of government officials as well as contact information you can use to demand the following.
George Floyd Calls: This link will direct you to a website describing what the calls are for and how they will help get justice for George Floyd. “When you click the button below, we’ll talk you through the calls and even dial the numbers for you! All you have to do is stay on the line and follow the instructions you hear. We can’t give up!”
Mike Freeman is no longer the prosecutor for George Floyd, Keith Ellison has now taken over the prosecution: 651-296-3353
The US Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 transfers you directly to your own representative (usually more effective). Research more cases in your states, and demand justice for the brutalities of law enforcement within your communities.
Text JUSTICE to 668366 (zipcode is required)
Example script for calling/emailing your mayor:
Hi, my name is [name]. I live in [neighborhood] here in [city]. I care deeply about making our community safer.
Like countless members of our community, I'm angered by unjust policing in this country and in our city. I realize many policy changes are out of your hands and take time, but as mayor, there are some ways you do have the ability to create immediate change to make our community safer.
I'm asking you to enact these simple, common-sense, and data driven policies:
-https://8cantwait.org/ [list any/all of the demands that you agree with and want to see implemented in your community or any of your own that you feel should be added to this list]
The data shows that if you implement these policies, in addition to ones already in place, we can decrease police violence in our community by 72%. Again, all of these polices can be implemented immediately and I'm asking you not to hesitate.
◦ Allyship ◦
As an ally, your role is very important. Here are some things you can do as an ally.
Check in on your black friends - this is a difficult time for all of us, especially your black friends who are being confronted with the realities of police brutality and racism right now. Instead of reaching out to your black friends to “educate you” on what is currently occurring, ask them how they’re doing and promise to educate yourself. Understand that many may find it difficult to speak out on these topics and they are in no way required to educate you.
Keep the conversation going, and acknowledge that the issues that the issues affecting the black community will continue to occur, even after the protesting and re-posting stops. Always keep in mind that the objective of this movement is to promote equity.
Recognize that “All Lives Matter” is not an appropriate response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. As it was a term created to gaslight (the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them, or their feelings). Targets of gas-lighting are manipulated into turning against their cognition, their emotions, and who they fundamentally are as people (Vox) and downplay the importance and necessity of black lives being treated equally. This is significant in a society where black people are not treated as though they are human in many cases. In posting and allowing this hashtag and movement you are contradicting the statement that Black Lives do in fact matter.
Social Media - it can be comforting to your black friends to see you posting in support of their pain and anger. Be aware of your different methods of engagement, and try to observe which ones prove most effective. Please fact check what you post to prevent the spread of incorrect or harmful information.
Acknowledge and use your privilege for the benefit of the movement.
◦ Educating Ourselves ◦
Keeping ourselves educated and socially aware is one of the most important steps we can take. It is our own responsibility to educate ourselves. Once we are aware of the issues at hand, we can contribute more meaningfully to conversation and call out false information. There are several ways we can educate ourselves. We have listed some below.
Organizations Committed to Inclusion
You can check out the following organizations committed to inclusion.
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
"ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate."
"The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees."
Here are some books you can read to learn about the issue of race in America.
So You Want To Talk About Race
“In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy--from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans--have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race.”
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States, but Alexander noted that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. Alexander's central premise, from which the book derives its title, is that "mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow"
Locking Up Our Own
“In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.”
How To Be Anti-Racist
Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
“In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”
Black Feminist Thought
“In spite of the double burden of racial and gender discrimination, African-American women have developed a rich intellectual tradition that is not widely known. In Black Feminist Thought, originally published in 1990, Patricia Hill Collins set out to explore the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals and writers, both within the academy and without. Here Collins provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde. Drawing from fiction, poetry, music and oral history, the result is a superbly crafted and revolutionary book that provided the first synthetic overview of Black feminist thought and its canon.”
Me and White Supremacy
“The New York Times and USA Today bestseller! This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”
Heavy: An American Memoir
“In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.”
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a 1969 autobiography describing the early years of American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma.”
Between The World and Me
“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.”
“Beloved is a 1987 novel by the American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American Civil War (1861–65), it is inspired by the life of Margaret Garner, an African American who escaped slavery in Kentucky in late January 1856 by crossing the Ohio River to Ohio, a free state. Captured, she killed her child rather than have her taken back into slavery.”
The Color of Law
“In The Color of Law (published by Liveright in May 2017), Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.”
To Kill a Mockingbird
“The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.”
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
"Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious." Amazon
Listening to podcasts is a unique way to stay educated on how race influences our society.
An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.
From the author behind the bestselling Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, comes a podcast that takes the conversation a step further.Featuring key voices from the last few decades of anti-racist activism, About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge looks at the recent history that lead to the politics of today.
Black America is an in-depth conversation that explores what it means to be Black in America. Black America is a multi-award winning show that profiles Black activists, academics, business leaders, sports figures, elected officials, artists and writers to gauge this experience in a time of both turbulence and breakthroughs.
Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.
Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast features movement voices, stories, and strategies for racial justice. Co-hosts Chevon and Hiba give their unique takes on race and pop culture, and uplift narratives of hope, struggle, and joy, as we continue to build the momentum needed to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture. Build on your racial justice lens and get inspired to drive action by learning from organizational leaders and community activists.
What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story.
Where good intentions meet good impact.
The podcast that brings intersectionality to life.
We’ve joined the airwaves to help spark conversation and activism on some of the most critical issues of today.From the courts to immigration, we’re seeing unprecedented attacks on the values we hold near and dear. At Pod for the Cause, we’re going to tackle these issues and more. Our friends in the movement will be stopping by to have these conversations, and they promise to be real, straightforward and honest. This podcast was created for those of you wanting to effect change, who understand the importance of restoring our democracy and want to engage in deep conversation around the issues.
On Pod Save the People, organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with fellow activists Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Sam Sinyangwe, and writer Dr. Clint Smith. They offer a unique take on the news, with a special focus on overlooked stories and topics that often impact people of color. There’s also a weekly one-on-one interview with DeRay and special guests, from singer/songwriter John Legend to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders who come on the show go deep on social, political, and cultural issues. New episodes every Tuesday.
Movies can serve as a stronger visual representation of race experiences in America.
“An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.”
I Am Not Your Negro
“I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words, as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson. Alongside a flood of rich archival material, the film draws upon Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.”
“A chaer-drama setting for issues that have spilled out into practically every corner of American life, Kenny Leon and Christopher Demos-Brown's American Son places a black mother in the waiting room of a police station as the audience watches for 90 minutes as she tries, through rising and falling levels of desperation, to find out what authorities have done with her son.”
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
“The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross chronicles the full sweep of the African-American experience, from the origins of the transatlantic slave trade to the reelection and second inauguration of President Barack Obama.”
“Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in order to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.”
Slavery By Another Name
“Slavery by Another Name is a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.”
Eyes on The Prize
“Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today.”
Soundtrack for a Revolution
“[Soundtrack for a Revolution] tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music - the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.”
The Black List:Volume One
“Interviews with 20 African-American leaders provide a series of living portraits.”
See you Yesterday
“Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build makeshift time machines to save C.J.'s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.”
The Hate U Give
“Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.”
Black Power Mixtape
“Examines the evolution of the Black Power movement in American society from 1967 to 1975 as viewed through Swedish journalists and filmmakers”
“Though he once spent time in San Quentin, 22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and young daughter (Ariana Neal). Flashbacks reveal the last day in Oscar's life, in which he accompanied his family and friends to San Francisco to watch fireworks on New Year's Eve, and, on the way back home, became swept up in an altercation with police that ended in tragedy. Based on a true story.”
“After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.”
“Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
When They See Us
“In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York's Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet, labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated.”
"A dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank) in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. Instead of giving up, she inspires her students to take an interest in their education and planning their future. She assigns reading material that relates to their lives and encourages them all to keep journals."
Da 5 Bloods
Directed by Spike Lee this move tells the story of "Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide."
Music has has always been used by the Black community as an outlet for expression. Here are the links to some our favorite songs that explore the identities and experiences of Black individuals. Listen, dissect, and share with your peers.
Please Note: Several of the songs listed contain expletives and harsh language.
Articles & Essays
These are a collection of articles from varying perspectives that explore social justice. They can be used as an educational tool to learn more about others’ beliefs and thought processes on important topics and issues in our society.
In response to the misconduct and brutalities of police that resulted in the killing of George Floyd, and many other Black people, there have been nation-wide protests and riots to stand up to the injustice going on in our society. Vicky Osterweil discusses why these riots are not only reasonable but also how they will help to create change.
“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to re-frame the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
This link will lead you to a wide array of essays and articles pertaining to race and social justice it was arranged by the New York Times.
An essay written by Elijah Anderson in a journal on Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. “Since the end of the Civil Rights Movement, large numbers of black people have made their way into settings previously occupied only by whites, though their reception has been mixed. Overwhelmingly white neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, restaurants, and other public spaces remain. Blacks perceive such settings as “the white space,” which they often consider to be informally “off limits” for people like them. Meanwhile, despite the growth of an enormous black middle class, many whites assume that the natural black space is that destitute and fearsome locality so commonly featured in the public media, including popular books, music and videos, and the TV news—the iconic ghetto. White people typically avoid black space, but black people are required to navigate the white space as a condition of their existence.”
In this essay, former president, Barack Obama, discusses the different ways that we can get involved and stand up to the ongoing problem of racial injustice in America. In this, he offers a toolkit created by a task force when he was president along with several reports you can use to educate and help out for this movement. Obama.org is a website that includes a lot of information and resources to further your education, involvement, and benefit on the movement.
This essay is an incredible educational tool to learn more facts from another perspective. This quote should give an idea of the focus of the essay, “Although the chronic condition of stress can have negative side effects on all persons, the unique psycho-social and contextual factors, specifically the common and pervasive exposure to racism and discrimination, creates an additional daily stressor for African-Americans. Often, African-Americans do not realize daily stressors that may affect their psychological or physiological health and so we have compiled a collection of articles and additional resources to understand the health effects that result from exposure and perception of racism and discrimination.”
Michelle S. Jacobs writes about how the media and publics’ focus more on the oppression and brutalities against Black men. This essay offers a different point of view from what you may already believe. This is a quote from her introduction, “This Article is about law enforcement’s violence towards Black women specifically. The reader should not feel free to substitute the phrase “women of color” where “Black women” has been written. The Article is not about “women of color.” For decades now, mainstream feminists have attempted to discuss violence against women, while relegating the experiences of Asian women, Native American women, Latinas, and Black women into one category called “women of color.” Scholarship describes the experiences of White women as normative, all other women experiences are subsumed in those. For over twenty years now, the data (when you can find data specifically about non-White women) consistently shows that the communities of non-White women do experience violence, both at the hands of the state, as well as at the hands of intimates, but that violence manifests differently in each community.”
This New York Times article discusses the response from the families of two Black men Robert L. Fuller and Malcom Harsch who were recently found dead. "The families of two black men who were found hanged from trees in Southern California are asking the authorities to further investigate their deaths. The family of Robert L. Fuller, 24, disputed the authorities’ initial pronouncement that he died by suicide. The family of Malcolm Harsch, 38, is worried his death will also be ruled a suicide."
This essay written by Aleema Kelly, discusses the injustices that Black women in America have suffered through from slavery to the near end of the Civil Rights Movement. This is an excerpt from the introduction, "Even though there had been significant advancements toward racial equality since slavery, racism negatively impacted the quality of medical care for African American people, especially women, in the form of inhumane and unequal treatment leading up to the civil rights movement and beyond."
Social Media Accounts
We have included the Instagram accounts of various organizations and outspoken civil rights leaders that can continue your involvement and education on social media.
@blissummit (shameless self-promo)
The Black Link of Independent Schools Summit. Creating solidarity and friendship among Black students at New England boarding schools 🖤
We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, & champion solutions that move us all forward.
Founded 1909, the NAACP is the nation's first and largest grassroots–based civil rights organization. Over 2,000 volunteer-run branches nationwide.
SURJ is a national network of groups & individuals organizing white people for racial justice.
United We Dream 🌎🌍🌏🍊
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest & largest civil rights coalition, building an America as good as its ideals.
We work to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment and racial inequality. Led by Bryan Stevenson.
Official instagram account of SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice collective. Follow us to keep updated on events and news!
🧠 Helping you give a sh*t!, 💃🏼 Luce, Liv & Rubes, New Zealand
Celebrating the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color. #BSFF20
Actor, Activist & intersectional feminist, Co-founder @weinspirejustice
We have compiled videos on a range of topics pertaining to race in America, police brutality, etc. These can be a good educational tool to learn new perspectives and also can be entertaining to watch in your free time.
-"We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd: Patriot Act Digital Exclusive" In this video, Hasan Minhaj discusses George Floyd, and other cases of police brutality. As a non-black person of color he describes ways that he supports the black community and reasons why he and other POC’s need to support the black community in order to make progress in our society.
-"How to Financially Help BLM with No Money" “This video project was created to offer people a way to donate and financially contribute to #blacklivesmatter without having any actual money or going out to protest themselves. Investing in our future can be difficult for young people, so 100% of the advertisement revenue this video makes through AdSense will be donated to the associations that offer protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals, and advocacy listed in the beginning of the video. PLEASE share this video, make sure to leave the ads running, repeat the video, and let people know about this easy way to help.”
-"Washington D.C. Mayor Renames Street Near White House 'Black Lives Matter Plaza'" The title explains the major idea of this video, as a response to the current protests the mayor of DC decided to honor the movement by renaming the street and also painting the street with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This video will bring you to some visuals of what this looks like currently and their process of creating it.
-"Protests aren't what they look like on TV" The popular video platform VOX created this video to shed light on the media perception of the Black Lives Matter movement and how some details have been over exaggerated, over simplified, and not even shown at all. They discuss the dangers of this false media coverage and why this often happens in our society today.
-"The Fractured Politics of a Browning America" This video, also created by VOX, offers some information and analysis on the way that America is becoming more diverse. They describe the effects that this is having on each group of people and how this is changing people's opinions, and creating a divide between different identities in America.
Middle Ground is a popular video series created by the Jubilee channel on youtube. These videos are meant to bring people together to discuss important topics in our current societal climate. They are normally structured by bringing two different groups of people with different perspectives together to voice their opinions on statements. “Jubilee exists to bridge people together and inspire love through compelling stories. We create shareable human-centric videos that create connection, challenge assumptions, and touch the soul.” The two following videos are from their series and are related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
-"NAACP Demands Reform to End Police Brutality" This video includes an interview with the current President Derrick Johnson of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “The NAACP has launched its #WeAreDoneDying campaign in response to the disproportionate number of black lives lost to COVID-19 as well as at the hands of police. The campaign aims to eliminate racial disparities harming the lives of African Americans, and the group also released a list of reforms for police departments nationwide.”
-Where Do We Go From Here? (Part 1) Part 2 "Oprah Winfrey leads the conversation speaking directly with Black thought leaders, activists and artists about systematic racism and the current state of America. Featured guests include: Stacey Abrams, Charles M. Blow, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Ava DuVernay, Jennifer Eberhardt, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram Kendi, David Oyelowo, Rashad Robinson and Bishop William J. Barber II."
-The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Trevor Noah has discussed topics pertaining to the current Black Lives Matter protests, and proposes and provides much needed information and questions that everyone should consider regarding our current social climate. Below are some of the videos, from the daily show, some are featuring interviews with civil rights activists and other famous people.
◦ Mental Health Resources ◦
Please take care of yourself first. Ensure to step away from social media if you need to, and acknowledge your feelings as real and valid. We have attached some resources you can go to if you need some support. Please also note you can contact the BLISS team if you want someone to talk/vent/etc. by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). As always, you can DM us on our Instagram (@blissummit).
“Black Girls Smile Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging positive mental health education, resources and support geared toward young African American females.”
“NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.”
“Our mission is to remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. We do this through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts.”
“The BMHAD hopes To develop, promote and sponsor trusted culturally-relevant educational forums, trainings and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities. In order to implement The creation of an equitable, respectful and compassionate society. The development of Black communities in which optimal mental health enables children, youth, adults, and families to strive for and embrace their best life.”
◦ Black Art ◦
Throughout history, various forms of art have been an outlet for Black people to express themselves in their oppression, victories, and feelings overall. We have included many different forms of art below, and if you would like your artwork featured in this section email email@example.com the following information: the piece, the artist(if you would like your identity concealed it can be anonymous), date, and the meaning of the piece(if applicable).
Poetry and Spoken Word
Poetry and spoken word has been a crucial way for the Black community to voice their feelings, protest, and contribute a different perspective artistically.
-"cuz he's black" This poem written by Javon Johnson describes the struggles and realities of being a Black man in America, when encountering the police. He describes his battle with informing his 4-year old Black nephew of the way that he will be treated all because of his race.
-"Shoot your Shot" This spoken word piece by a Team Chicago describes what it is like to be a Black women in America specifying the relationship with mostly Black men.
-"Angry Black Woman" This poem discusses the stereotype of the “angry black woman,” beauty standards and the way that Black women are often dismissed due to this stereotype that diminishes the importance of their words for many.
-"To Be Black and Woman and Alive" The title says it all, this poem tells the story of the many stereotypes assigned to being Black and how these are considered negative connotations.
-"Black Poetry" Talks about white privilege, the effects of systematic privilege, war on drugs, stereotypes of Black fathers and men overall, and the negative perception that many have on writing about “oppression poems.”
-"Glory- by Philadelphia Team" This spoken word poem encourages black power and discusses their hopes for a society where blackness is celebrated instead of seen as a negative. Despite the fact that it was performed in 2015, the poem touches on a lot of relevant issues today and references things like “blackout days” and other current trends and hashtags on social media today.
-"White Men Say Weird Things To Me" - Ebony Stewart In this poem, Stewart describes experiences that she has had in our life when around white men. She portrays her feelings and they way that the crimes of white men are often romanticized.
-"Simon Says" -Ashley Davis & Oompa These ladies discuss the school to prison pipeline in a chilling spoken word poem that compares the treatment of students by their teachers and how that translates to the way officers treat them outside of the school building.
(These pieces are labelled in the order that they appear)
1.) This art piece is done by Kehinde Wiley, born in 1977, he attended the Yale University of Art and went on to become an artist based in New York City. Most of his pieces are portraits picturing Black people in nature scenes, as shown in this painting. Check out more of his work at this website.
2.) This piece done by Kara Elizabeth Walker. As shown in this image she specializes in these silhouettes that depict and serve to tell the story of race, violence, gender, and sexuality through her pieces. Outside of this, she also paints contemporary pieces, is a film-maker, and more.
3.) This sculpture was created by Augusta Savage a Black sculptor who also served as a teacher in the arts. Many of her pieces were created during the Harlem Renaissance which was an important artistic movement for Black people in this part of Manhattan, New York City. During her career, she dedicated her time to fighting for equal rights for Black people in the arts.