How can I support Black Lives Matter from home in the UK or Europe?
Change, real change, is happening as the world continues to be rocked by the power of the Black Lives Matter movement. As always, the biggest change starts with ourselves.
Between us at MLKD, we’re constantly consuming culture and content from Black voices, creators and thought leaders. We know how important it is as allies and accomplices to understand and engage with Black history, and how important it is to keep learning and keep spreading awareness to bring about change.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this bank of resources for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement with materials that personally hit us hard and has continued to shift our mindset and provoke important conversations about race and Black history.
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Where to start with supporting Black Lives Matter in the UK and Europe?
From buying art whose proceeds will be disseminated between organisations, to being more vocal about race in private Whatsapp discussions, there are plenty of ways you can get involved and help push for change.
Social media is pretty overwhelming right now, with ‘you shoulds’ and ‘you shouldn’ts’ – if you’re white or non-Black and haven’t engaged in race discussions before, you might feel like you haven’t known how to best help.
But just reading this means that you’re keen to keep shifting your mindset and addressing your privilege to start understanding the systematic issues being fought against. So here are some general ideas for getting involved, and a bank of resources you can keep coming back to.
How to support Black Lives Matter in the UK on a long-term basis
1. Change your spending habits
Spend your money to support black-owned businesses. Boycott white-owned businesses that don’t take a stand against white supremacy, racism and police brutality.
2. Keep signing petitions
There are a lot of causes we can fight for with just one click! When signing petitions, sign up to receive notifications about similar ones you can support, important petitions like these are a good start. Get signing:
- Suspend UK Export of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets and Riot Shields to the USA
- The UK Government Must Condemn Trump’s Response To The Murder of George Floyd #SpeakUpBoris
- Anti-Racism Education to be Compulsory in UK Schools
- Teach British Children About the Realities of British Imperialism and Colonialism
- Medical Schools Must Include BAME Representation in Clinical Teaching
- Improve Maternal Mortality Rates and Health Care for Black Women in the UK
3. Hold your MP accountable
Email your MP and get them to raise awareness locally and push them to escalate important issues. If enough people contact them about a topic or subject, there has to be a parliamentary discussion.
- Head to https://www.theyworkforyou.com to find out the name and contact address for your local MP, then send them an email demanding that the UK government speak up about their stance on racism.
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Platforms you can donate to or engage with to support Black Lives Matter:
- The Earth Issue Freedom Fundraiser – an intersectional sustainability magazine who have put together an art fundraiser for the next 30 days. Funds are distributed between organisations fighting for social justice. Prints are sold for £100 including shipping. 100% of proceeds after printing and shipping are donated.
- Platform London – a youth creative collective, powered by young people, led by industry professionals. They’ve set up a collective print sale where all profits are 100% donated to ‘Know Your Rights Camp’ in the U.S and ‘The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’ in the U.K. If you’d like to donate a print then you can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Guap – donate to support young Black creatives via The Black Guap Fund. a youth-led new media platform dedicated to discovering, showcasing and nurturing diverse emerging creatives.
- Gal-dem – an award-winning online and print publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non binary people of colour.
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Resources for learning more about Black history and Black UK Culture
Here are a couple of resources that are easy to get into and might help you get started – we’ll keep updating these so check back if you need fresh material:
Pop Culture Resources – Film, TV, Podcasts
Series, Films & Documentaries
When They See Us – a hard-hitting series that tells the story of The Exonerated 5 – a group of five young black teens jailed for up to 13 years for a crime they didn’t commit.
Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now – Oprah’s interview with The Exonerated 5 today to discuss the injustices they suffered just for being Black.
Fruitvale Station – a beautiful film centred around Oscar Grant, a African-American 22-year-old who was killed on New Year’s Day 2009 in Oakland, California.
13th – an incredibly insightful documentary featuring scholars, politicians and activists who explain and analyse the criminalisation of African Americans, the U.S. prison boom and the continuing loophole of the 13th Amendment.
Dear White People – a funny, emotional and highly bingeable Netflix show that tackles race at university in America. Students of colour navigate the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that’s not nearly as post-racial as it thinks.
Just Mercy (Apple TV / Amazon Prime) – A must watch, based on the real life story of Bryan Stevenson who spent his life defending prisoners who were wrongly convicted, and couldn’t afford proper representation.
For Life (Hulu) – Inspired by a true story, this series tells the story of a wrongfully convicted man who becomes a lawyer in prison, defending other inmates while trying to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.
Podcasts, YouTube Videos & Talks
Akala’s Q&A / YouTube channel – Akala jumped on an Instagram live in mid-June – articulately and with flavour in a way no one else can – to answer questions on systematic racism, police brutality, and how to effectively make a change.
Ted Talk: Racism Has A Cost For Everyone – a critical Ted Talk by public policy expert Heather C. McGhee.
Have You Heard George’s Podcast? – hosted by George The Poet, this podcast is an award-winning multimedia series of episodes that discuss music, Black culture in the UK, and so much more.
Dissect – Series 1 (To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar) – Each series of this podcast focuses on a specific album, starting with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ (our personal favourite) which examines forensically every lyric, phrase and meaning of Kendrick’s masterpiece.
Books (consider buying from the Black Cultural Archives or a Black-owned book shop)
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala – this is an incredibly eye-opening, radical look at race and class in the UK, told from Akala’s perspective as a mixed race man growing up in London.
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (We would really recommend listening to the audiobook, as Trevor Noah is the narrator, bringing his incredible story to life with amazing accents and wicked humour).
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – this is a must read, especially if you’re in the UK.
Change doesn’t happen overnight
All the small things we do as individuals, no matter how tiny or insignificant they seem, add up to a much larger whole. And it’s the changes we make ourselves that create the biggest ripple effect.
Continue to consume Black content, actively engage with Black culture and conversation, buy from Black-owned businesses, and continue supporting Black artists.
In the meantime, stay safe out there.