Ferguson: How You Can Help

With the recent events in Ferguson and the resulting protests across the country, I’m sure a lot of you are looking for ways they can help, especially if you are unable to attend protests due to geography, financial situation, or disability (as is my case). I also know that a lot of people like to give to charity on Thanksgiving in particular.

Some basic things you can do:

  • Spread information (but be careful what information you spread; there is already plenty of misinformation being spread by the media). This includes information on things like how to deal with tear gas, although again, make sure the information is correct.
  • Give money (a list of places to donate is below)
  • Sign petitions (again, a list is below)
  • Write to your congressmen. Some advice on that is here.
  • Elevate black voices: If you aren’t black, this isn’t your fight to lead. Take your cues from black protesters and help spread the words of black activists and artists. I’m currently compiling a list of black artists and their novels, poems, blogs, movies, songs, etc which I will be promoing on here. If you would like to contribute (or if you are a black artist and would like me to promo your work), you can email me at eliora.smith@gmail.com.

Places to Donate:

  • The Ferguson Public Library has been providing students with food, a place to go, and some much-needed entertainment throughout. They did this back in August when the start of school was delayed, and they are doing it now that schools are closed.
  • The St Louis Food Bank
  • The Bail and Legal Fund which will go to pay the legal fees of people arrested during demonstrations in Ferguson
  • You can also give money to the Ferguson Defense Fund, which has very similar goals
  • The Legal Support Fund also provides money for legal fees and support for the protesters
  • Hands Up United is a movement formed by Ferguson Youth. You can read about their goals, demands, and approaches at the link.
  • The Organisation for Black Struggle, which was founded in 1980–read more about their agenda at the link, or go to “Happenings” to find out what they’re doing now
  • Operation Help or Hush provides provides shelter and food for those organizing protests as well as protesters themselves, among other things.

Petitions to sign:

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On Ferguson

I have spent the last three days watching social media and mainstream media talk about Ferguson. Recently reports have surfaced that Mike Brown may have been responsible for a robbery, although it seems that the police officer who shot him did not know this.

Because I am not black, I should be deferring to black people on this tragedy and the racial issues surrounding it. I am trying to do that, and there are many things that have been written by black people about this, many of them very good.

I have a few things that I really want to say however, and I am going to say them.

This is no longer just about Mike Brown.

I do not mean to minimize the tragedy of his death or suggest that it is irrelevant or that justice should not be sought. I also do not mean that the police brutality that occurred was not racially based; it most certainly was.

What I mean is this:

The circumstances of Mike Brown’s death are no longer the only issue here. Even if everything the Ferguson Police Department was saying about him was true, and he attacked the cops and took their guns–and I do not believe that it is–that does not excuse what followed. Neither do the riots that apparently occurred early on.

Peaceful protesters, acting off of what they knew, were shot and teargassed by police using military grade equipment. The lack of information from mainstream media that these protesters and those of us outside Ferguson had was due to Ferguson police department shutting out the media. They assaulted reporters. They shot a pastor while she was praying.

There are no circumstances which can excuse what was done.

I realize that I am not providing sources in this post. To be honest, I am too tired. I have been watching this all week and I do not have the mental energy to go back through everything I reblogged, but my previous post does contain some good information.

I apologize if I have stepped over the line as an ally with this post. I have tried to keep the focus off of myself as a non-black person and to follow the sentiments and tone I have seen from many black people. Let me close with this:

Do not let this die. Examine the media and how it reported this. Why is the reaction of the media to focus on assassinating the character of the victim? Why do we worry more about this victim’s character than the circumstances of his death? (You know why.)

And do not forget that this has grown far beyond that now. Do not forget Ferguson. Do not stop fighting. 

Remember that when one person is killed, we are all diminished. That injustice effects us all. That actions like this that infringe upon basic rights like free speech will not stop with black people. Remember also, however, that white people are not the ones who will suffer for any violence we commit. Be careful in how you address these things, because if white people make them violent, black people will suffer.

Short List of Ferguson Links

There are unconscionable things happening in Ferguson, Mo. right now. These are the same things that happened fifty years ago, and they are happening right now, here in the US, and you need to pay attention.

The media is, for the most part, not reporting on it, and reporters are being blocked. It is a no fly zone, so no news helicopters–but there is, apparently, a helicopter spreading tear gas.

Reddit’s live feed

Livestream

LA Times

Ferguson Hashtag on Twitter

Some information on tear gas first aid

Someone with a much better list than me

Another twitter feed

I will try to add more links later.

A note on mental health:

These things are very important, but of you have the luxury if turning off your computer and not looking at them, and that is something that you need to do, do not feel bad about doing it. The world does not need more pain right now, and it certainly doesn’t need more death, so if you’re mental health and safety are at risk from hearing and reading about this, take care of yourself.

Some Relevant Quotes:

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

-Elie Wiesel

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

-Elie Wiesel