There is a movement happening, not just in the City of Philadelphia, but around the world.
The death of George Floyd—an unarmed black man in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin—has caused riots and protests desperately calling for police reform. This instance, unfortunately, is not the first time a black citizen has unlawfully been murdered at the hands of law enforcement, and to say that it should spark outrage is an understatement.
Lately, there has been a lot of chatter on social media and beyond on what citizens can do to help support the Black Lives Matter movement. Some are showing support by attending the protests, some are donating money, some are signing petitions, some are having difficult conversations—whatever can be done to keep the ball rolling needs to happen.
Unified, people can make a difference, and it’s time for a change.
As someone with white privilege, I have also been trying to educate myself on what I can do to become more informed, show support and be an ally to the black community. We who are privileged can’t pretend to know someone else’s pain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do everything in our power to make sure that the government, city officials and law enforcement know that we will not condone racism in any form. The time to sit back and watch events unfold is over, it’s time to do something.
Here are a few ways Philadelphians can support the Black Lives Matter movement in the community and beyond.
BLM Philly is an organization based in the City of Brotherly Love that was conceived in the summer of 2012 by co-founders Patrisse Kahn-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. The organization was initially created in response to Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, being acquitted for his crime, but since its birth, BLM Philly has been making an impact on the city. Over the years, with more unlawful deaths of black citizens, this organization has gained more and more traction with the goal to spark change. According to their website, over the years BLM Philly has held city-based meetings and meetings of their own and has launched a number of initiatives including letter campaigns, Black Joy and Healing circles, vigils and forums. Philadelphians can donate to BLM Philly directly through their website, and can even make it a monthly donation.
Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity
According to their website, the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Philadelphia residents whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their social and career potentials. Their announced goal is to achieve a more equitable social environment for those with criminal records. Their site also states they can do this by seeking expungements in criminal court and pardons from the governor; educating elected and community leaders; empowering and organizing under-resourced communities; and leading legislative, administrative and systemic reform. Philadelphians can donate to the PLSE through their website or, also, by purchasing food from select Philly establishments. In response to current events, many Philly eateries have been vocal about donating proceeds to different organizations. For example, Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook of CookNSolo group joined other Philly restaurants and will be donating 100% of their net proceeds from now through June 7 to the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. Philadelphians can purchase meals from Zahav, Abe Fisher, Laser Wolf, K’Far, Merkaz, Goldie and Dizengoff to help support the PLSE.
Philadelphia Community Bail Fund
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund’s mission, according to their website, is to end cash bail in the City of Philadelphia. Until that day, the organization has vowed to post bail for neighbors who cannot afford to pay. In just three years, the PCBF has bailed out 386 people who could not afford to do so themselves with bails as low as $30 and as high as $50,000. According to the statistics on their site, roughly 34% of those the PCBF have bailed out are women and over 90% are black and brown people. The way the organization is able to do this is through donations, and Philadelphians can donate directly to the PCBF website.
Reclaim the Block
Reclaim the Block is a Minneapolis-based organization that started in 2018. According to their website, their main goal is to get the Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Reclaim the Block also sent a message in the form of a petition (which you can sign on their website) for the Minneapolis City Council to never again vote to increase police funding or to increase the police department’s budget and beyond. Philadelphians can donate and sign the petition to directly make an impact for George Floyd’s city and community.
George Floyd Memorial Fund
George Floyd was described as a beloved member of his community. He leaves behind a family, friends and other loved ones who have to deal with his senseless murder not just now, but truly for the rest of their lives. Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, started the Go Fund Me page and all funds will go directly to George Floyd’s family. Philadelphians can donate to the fund through the official Go Fund Me page.