Black Lives Matter protests have sprung up in cities all over the state, country and now the world, after 42-year-old George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Thousands of people continue to gather in the global fight against police violence and institutional racism throughout Connecticut. Many activist groups have been sharing scheduled rallies on social media, like Twitter and Instagram, while others have been sharing donation efforts.
Here is a resource guide for those looking to support and contribute to the movement.
Where to donate money, supplies, or volunteer
Connecticut Bail Fund seeks to provide cash bail relief for those who the system harms disproportionately.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut uses legal expertise to stand up to injustices regarding freedom of speech, religion, women’s rights, racial profiling, and many other rights under the Constitution.
Justice for Jayson was formed after 15-year-old Jayson Negron was shot to death by Bridgeport police in 2017. They collected bail money for protesters who were arrested in Bridgeport and Waterbury in June. They accept Cashapp donations at $JusticeBailFund.
People’s Medics of New Haven is a collective of healthcare workers working to fight against systems of oppression. They have collected PPE and medical supplies for protestors.
Black Lives Matter New Haven regularly organizes protests and posts them on their Facebook page. They accept monetary donations and amplify fundraisers on their page as well.
If you are able to safely get to protest sites, bring supplies like masks, gloves, water, first aid kits, trash bags, etc.
Mutual Aid Hartford has been helping connect underserved communities to resources like groceries and other necessities throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They also connect volunteers to people who are looking for certain skills or need to navigate confusing bureaucratic processes. To volunteer services or for more information, email them at email@example.com. They are also accepting money through Venmo @mutualaidhartford.
CT Mutual Aid has a strong presence in Waterbury, Bridgeport, and New Haven, and serves other towns in the state. They work off an shared online document and spreadsheet to organize requests and offerings. They also encourage and offer peer-to-peer emotional wellbeing sessions through the Life in My Days, Inc. organization.
There are also active mutual aid groups in Norwalk, Stratford, and Middletown.
Other active advocacy groups include: People Against Police Brutality, CT Core, Hartford Action, Showing Up for Racial Justice CT, and Moral Monday CT.
Many nonprofits and other organizations rely on monthly donations to survive and continue providing services. To keep the fight for justice going, consider setting up a small monthly donation, rather than one large one, if you are able.
Register to vote
Voting is the right to have the people’s voices heard. This is particularly important at a local level, where mayors, town representatives and other elected officials have a direct impact on communities. Voter turnout in local races is typically low, despite the power to elect candidates who are part of the community, and who voters can have access to and hold accountable for change.
On a national level, due to coronavirus concerns, Gov. Lamont has moved this year’s primary election to Aug. 11, 2020. Previously, the Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said she would send out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state and pay the postage, but that doesn’t mean that every voter in the state will be legally eligible to vote by ballot. More information from the state to follow.
This election’s registration deadlines are:
Thursday, Aug. 6 is the last day to register online here and send mail-in registration. It is also the last day to change party affiliation. (NOTE: Voters must be affiliated with a party to vote in the primary.)
Monday, Aug. 10 at noon is the last day for in-person registration. (NOTE: Due to COVID-19, as of June 2, town hall buildings are closed.)
It is up to Congress to push back the general election, set for Nov. 3, 2020. There hasn’t been word from the federal government yet.
Educate yourself and others
Do some research. Look for books or articles that can offer a fresh perspective on racial identity development, the power of privilege, or microaggressions. Gather recommendations from friends. Watch movies or television series that tackle police brutality or racial tensions from specific moments in history. Get uncomfortable, then keep watching. Get involved in cultural resource centers, like community conversations with Hartford’s Kamora’s Cultural Corner or diverse art groups. Listen to people when they talk about their experiences and how the system is failing them. Familiarize yourself with the challenges Black people are facing and amplify their voices.
Many Google Docs have gone around on social media listing articles, books, course syllabi for historical understanding, and other recommended reading or watching. Here is a list of some of those resources to get started:
Support local Black-owned businesses
This is the simplest way to lift a community up. Grab coffee at INI Sips in New Britain. Get a manicure at Z Luxury Nails in West Hartford. Find lunch and treat yourself to dessert at Stella’s and Mazie’s in Hartford. Write positive reviews. Leave tips. Buy gift cards for others. Show up for your neighbors.
Check in on your friends
Tensions are high right now. Reach out to people for whom seeing these images could be a painful experience. Offer emotional support. Have an open dialogue about what’s going on. It can be upsetting and uncomfortable, but it can also be motivating to talk with people you trust. Talk about actionable ways you can help. Be an ally.
If you would like to add any local organizations or suggestions on how to strategize, organize or mobilize to this list, email Sabrina Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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