10 actions to help people stand up against racism and social injustice
Recent events involving racial inequity and injustice have shown us that racism is still very much alive. Change starts with each of us and we can play a role in addressing the far-too-prevalent discrimination against Black individuals—both now and in the future, forever.
Some companies are helping their people take action. And many are looking to strengthen their existing diversity and inclusion programs to create long-term, collective impact.
To help you get started, we’ve pulled together 10 ideas you can share with your employees to empower them to take real, concrete action to address racism. This list comes from Benevity’s Missions module on Justice & Equality—which enables people to take positive actions to drive long-term behavioral change.
“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.”
— Gil Scott-Heron, American soul and jazz poet, musician and author
Consider sharing the following list with your employees to help them take action in many ways:
1. Sign petitions and support campaigns from organizations that are demanding justice, such as Color Of Change. (Wondering if petition and campaigns make a difference? Color Of Change’s petition to demand justice for George Floyd and charge Derek Chauvin with murder gained over 2 million signatures. Chauvin was later charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.)
2. Write a letter to an elected representative demanding better. Make sure your message provides context by referring to a personal experience, concern or news item, and one clear action for them and their staff to respond to, such as a question or an appeal. If you’re not sure what to say, the ACLU has a number of letters already written that you can copy and paste into an email, add to or even sign directly from their site.
3. Support trusted nonprofit organizations doing the work to demand justice and equity for Black Americans and Canadians. Here are a few to consider donating to:
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund fight for racial justice and seek equality for all Americans
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation handle thousands of cases each year on behalf of clients whose rights have been violated by individuals and institutions
Race Forward catalyze community and institutions to dismantle structural racial inequality
Northside Achievement Zone close the achievement gap and support families in North Minneapolis
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law secure equal justice for all through the rule of law
4. Setup a recurring donation to a nonprofit advocating for civil rights and anti-racism (listed above) to help support lasting change on these issues. Through Benevity’s platform, you can easily setup recurring payroll donations and if eligible, get your donation matched by your company. This is a safe and effective way to get your funds to the nonprofits that need your help. .
5. Educate yourself on the key policies that will help end death by police violence by visiting Campaign Zero. Be sure to engage friends and families in challenging (and necessary) conversations around race-based violence and share the ways they can contribute.
6. Start your anti-racism journey, if you haven’t already, by reading or listening to the audiobook version of Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor and get journaling. You can find a copy here.
7. Engage in self-reflection and facilitate conversations about race/racism with friends, family, and colleagues. Seek out employee resource groups at work to help continue these conversations in a safe environment. Start with these questions:
- How have the current events made you feel?
- How often do you think about your racial or ethnic identity?
- How do you think we got here? How have events in the US affected the rest of the world?
- What ideas have come to you in the last week to start making change?
For more self-reflection prompts, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture online Talking About Race portal.
8. Support Black-owned businesses. Whether it’s a local shop or restaurant or an alternative to the retailers you tend to gravitate to, make the conscious choice to support Black equity by supporting businesses.
9. Listen without ego to a podcast about Black experiences. Pick one and start listening today—find them wherever you get your podcasts:
10. Start an ongoing conversation with kids. Read this article from National Geographic, which provides guidance from childhood development and education experts on speaking about race and racism with kids. And use this Talking About Race portal from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.