Explore More: What to listen to, read and watch to become a better ally to the black community
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, the Black Lives Matter movement has surged across the country. Even small, secluded cities and towns such as Steamboat Springs are holding peaceful protests and implementing changes as a sign of solidarity and support.
While some are going above and beyond in donating to causes and calling representatives, many don’t know what to do to take part in the movement. Where are the best places to donate? What are the most powerful petitions? What tools can be used to learn more?
Many popular and highly-recommended books about race and being a better ally are selling out or on backorder. While waiting for your book to arrive, sit down and watch a docuseries or listen to a podcast.
To truly make an impact, educate yourself, reach out to your government, support local organizations and share what you learn with others.
Get uncomfortable, admit you don’t know everything and start conversations with people who know more than you.
What to watch
‘13th’: Directed by Ava DuVernay, “13th” refers to the 13th amendment, which states it is unconstitutional for someone to be held as a slave. The film analyzes the prison system in the U.S. and the longstanding history of mass incarceration of black Americans. Watch it on Netflix.
‘When They See Us’: Also directed by DuVernay,” When They See Us” is a four-part mini series that tells the story of The Central Park Five. In 1989, five young students of color served time for a crime they didn’t commit. The docuseries can be found on Netflix.
‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ Season 4, Episode 16: If you’re looking for a short and lighthearted way to teach a younger audience about race, watch this episode of the police sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” When Sergeant Terry Jeffords, played by Terry Crews, walks down his street in plain clothes looking for a toy his daughter misplaced, he is stopped by a young police officer who stops and takes Jeffords into custody for doing nothing. The officer assumed that because Jeffords is black, he didn’t belong in that neighborhood. The episode also helps address explaining the situation to Jeffords young daughters. All episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are available on Hulu.
What to read
‘Between the World and Me,’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates: This book is flying off the shelves everywhere, and for good reason. Written in the form of a letter to his son, Coates depicts what it’s like to be black in the U.S. Find it at ta-nehisicoates.com.
‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,’ by Michelle Alexander: Alexander, a civil rights advocate, dissects the ever prominent issue of mass incarceration of black men in America in this New York Times bestseller. Find it at newjimcrow.com.
‘The Hate U Give,’ by Angie Thomas: This young adult novel is now a major motion picture and is streaming on Amazon and Google Play for free at the moment. The story follows a young black girl balancing her two selves: the person she is at home in the poor, mostly-black neighborhood she lives, and the person she is at her mostly-white private school. She struggles to figure out where she stands after witnessing the fatal shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. Find it at angiethomas.com.
What to listen to
‘Code Switch’: This NPR podcast hosted by two journalists of color, explores how race interacts with pop culture, history, sports and politics through stories told through their guests. Find it at npr.org/sections/codeswitch.
‘#TellBlackStories’: This award-winning podcast brings on guests like Michael B. Jordan and Taraji P. Henson to discuss how to properly portray empathetic, accurate and diverse black stories in film and television. The podcast was created by Color of Change, an online racial justice organization that leads campaigns to bring power to black communities. Find it at tellblackstories.org.
‘How to Be an Anti-Racist’ on ‘Unlocking Us’ with Brene Brown: If you want to start slow with one episode rather than delving into a whole series, this is a great place to start. New York Times bestselling author Brene Brown speaks with Ibram X. Kendi about his new book, “How to Be an Anti-Racist.” Find it at brenebrown.com/podcast/introducing-unlocking-us.
How to help
Take action: Tell your senator to support the Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado does most of the work for you on this one. Just by plugging in your name and address on their website, you’ll tell Colorado senators that you support the act, also known as bill SB20-217, which is being fast-tracked through the state legislature. It would require body cameras and limit the situations in which an officer could use deadly force, among other reforms.
Sign petitions: Signing petitions may be simple, but it seems to be working. A petition on Change.org got three million signatures in a matter of days and asked the Minneapolis attorney general to raise the charges against Derek Chauvin, the police officer that knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes and killed him. The attorney general raised the charges from third-degree to second-degree murder June 3. There are also petitions demanding Justice for Floyd, Justice for Breonna Taylor and Justice for Ahmaud Arbery, asking law enforcement to reopen cases and charge the officers allegedly responsible for the respective deaths.
Donate: There are endless places to put your money. Make sure it goes somewhere that will put it to good use. The best place to donate is directly to the Black Lives Matter Foundation, which was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. The foundation works to support and improve black lives while trying to rid the world of systematic racism.
The Bail Project uses donations to bail out people in need, and works to “combat economic and racial disparities in the bail system.” At the end of a case, bail is returned, so donations can be recycled to pay bail two to three times per year.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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