How Minnesotans Can Fight for Racial Justice

Organizations to support, actions to take, things to read, and people to follow
Memorial outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed
Memorial outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed

Erik Tormoen

On Thursday, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins gave an interview on CNN. Before asking about the protests in Jenkins’ neighborhood that began escalating earlier this week, CNN news anchor Brooke Baldwin broke down in tears.

“I’m so angry,” Baldwin said, about the killing of George Floyd on Monday while he was in police custody in south Minneapolis. Baldwin closed with a question she seemed uncomfortable asking: “I’m getting a lot of incoming messages from, you know, white viewers,” she began, “who are enraged, who don’t know what to do with their emotion. And so, as you talk about, you know—you call [racism] a cancer, it’s a disease, and in order to cure it—I heard you say earlier, with regard to racism in this country—what do you want to tell white America about what they can do? Not just to listen, but to act?”

“Yeah, no, that’s a great question, Brooke,” Jenkins said, “and, you know, I wish I had all the smart answers to provide to white people.”

But she did have an answer: “A) Stop killing us,” Jenkins said. “B) Give black people opportunities to live full, healthy lives. That means access to employment. That means access to safe and affordable healthcare. That means access to safe and affordable housing. We are in the midst of a pandemic right now, and we need to see resources going to the most vulnerable people. We’ve already identified who the most vulnerable people are. However, nobody is providing those kinds of resources. There’s no testing, there’s no drive-up testing in my community. There’s no PPE in my community. We need the federal government to be providing resources to cities and states. And we need white America to be calling all these resources in these underinvested communities, these overpoliced communities. We need white people to stop perpetuating the system of racism. And I’m not calling any one person a racist, but I do know that people who benefit from it are the only people who can end it.”

Here are ways to start doing the work:

Donate to the following organizations and causes:

ACLU Minnesota: The local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, rallying around issues of racial justice, police practices, criminal justice, and more

Black Immigrant Collective: A group that advocates for black immigrants and raises awareness of the impact immigration policy and law enforcement has on these communities

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter St. Paul: Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s chapters of the global activist movement that launched in 2013 following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer

Black MN COVID-19 Response: An effort to push through policies protecting African American communities during the pandemic

Black Visions Collective: A rallying organization that leads and collaborates on campaigns pushing for racial justice across the Twin Cities

Communities United Against Police Brutality: A group that continually monitors local police brutality with the goal to “create a climate of resistance to abuse of authority by police organizations and to empower local people with a structure that can take on police brutality and actually bring it to an end”

Communities Organizing Latinx Power and Action (COPAL): A grassroots organization that works toward racial, gender, social, and economic justice across community lines

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en La Lucha (CTUL): A network dedicated to bolstering the power of low-wage workers

Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund: Du Nord Craft Sprits, a black-owned distillery in Minneapolis that was damaged, returns the favor of the support they received through a fund for black and brown companies that have also been damaged

ISAIAH: A statewide, multi-race, multi-faith coalition fighting for racial and economic justice in Minnesota

Isuroon: A grassroots nonprofit promoting the empowerment of Somali women in Minnesota and elsewhere

Minnesota Healing Justice Network: Donate here to a network of wellness and healing practitioners who are Indigenous and people of color

Minnesota Voice: A coalition of nonprofits working toward racial, social, and economic justice by increasing civic engagement and voter participation statewide, especially among underrepresented communities

NAACP MPLS: The Minneapolis branch of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization

North Star Health CollectiveA group that works “in alliance with mainstream and anti-authoritarian organizations to create safe and healthy events”

Pimento Relief Fund: Relief for black businesses without insurance that have been damaged “after white supremacists set them on fire during the protests”

Pow Wow Grounds: A Native-run café that provides food, medical supplies, cooking supplies, and other needed items to the community

Reclaim the Block: A push to “organize 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,” with a petition here (NOTE: Reclaim the Block has asked people to donate to these organizations instead)

Racial Justice Network: A multi-racial grassroots organization for racial justice that focuses on “building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines”

Showing Up for Racial Justice-Minnesota: The local chapter of a national network that organizes white people for racial justice, via community organizing, mobilizing, and education

TakeAction MN: A statewide, multi-racial, multi-generational organization that leads campaigns in issues surrounding racial justice, including voting rights, criminal justice reform, and education

Voices for Racial Justice: A site of network-building for communities of color, with training and organizing opportunities

We Love Lake Street: A nonprofit donating all funds to rebuilding Lake Street businesses and community organizations

Participate

Consult this Google Form assembled by community organizers that highlights ways of assisting the local movement. It includes volunteer opportunities, ways to donate and support, small businesses to aid, and a lot more.

Follow Support the Cities for ways to volunteer or donate funds and supplies. Check their Facebook page for updates.

Join the Minneapolis Clean-Up Effort and look for other clean-up opportunities on Facebook.

Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which works to free protesters. (NOTE: Donations have been paused, and the team behind the fund is redirecting donations to the organizations compiled by Reclaim the Block.)

Make a contribution to the Floyd family’s GoFundMe page.

Call Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (612-673-2100) and/or Minneapolis District Attorney Mike Freeman (612-348-5550).

Anti-Racism Resources

Minnesota Compass is a nonpartisan project that measures overall state progress. Its site includes a Racial Equity Resource Directory, which covers more than 70 organizations, many of them with anti-racism resources. These include anti-bias workshops and groups that advance policies for racial justice.

On social media, a Medium.com list from 2017 has been circulating: of 75 things white people can do for racial justice, including books to read, causes to follow, and this CNN series wherein folks talk about blackness on their own terms.

Parents who have not talked with their kids about racism may want to do so. The Lifehacker news site has a guide to discussing race with kids.

Here are a few other options for thinking about whiteness and racism:

In this TED radio hour by National Public Radio, Travis Jones explains why white people often feel resistant to discussions about race.

Jana Shortal, of KARE 11, looked into our local saga of racism and Minnesota’s staggering racial inequities compared to the rest of the country, in everything from median income to education and unemployment. “We need not only people of color but white people to talk about these numbers,” says University of Minnesota professor Keith Mayes. “If this is a state where people are wanting to say that it’s one of the greatest places to live, but they see these numbers—what does that say?”

This TED Talk featuring Susan E. Borrego, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint, focuses on white privilege and each person’s responsibility to bring about change.

Read reactions and thoughts from #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protesters.

Local Voices to Follow

If you have suggestions, please share in the comments.

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