How to Take Action on Police Brutality and Anti-Black Racism
On Jan. 27, news outlets aired footage of a 29-year-old Black man named Tyre Nichols being beaten so viciously by Memphis police on Jan. 7 that he died in the hospital three days later. Though all the officers involved were fired — with most facing charges for second-degree murder — many Americans are recognizing the urgent need for greater change in the aftermath. You might be among those that want to take action, but don't really know where to begin.
The reality is, nothing will ever change without a collective national effort to demand policies that will help dismantle systemic anti-Black racism. During Nichols's televised funeral, his mother and Vice President Harris called on Congress to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — a federal bill introduced in 2021 that would make it easier to prosecute police accused of violence as well as fund antidiscrimination programs. As the Guardian reports, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee plans to reintroduce an updated version of the bill in the House, which will include a "Tyre Nichols Duty to Intervene" provision.
And in the State of the Union on Feb. 7, President Biden once again called on Congress to act. "All of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment. We can't turn away," he said, after introducing Nichols's parents, who were both in attendance. "Let's do what we know in our hearts that we need to do; let's come together to finish the job on police reform."
While the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act remains stalled (it's unlikely a divided Congress will pass the bill), there are organizations actively addressing the issue of policing reform. If you are looking for ways to support the movement against anti-Black racism and police brutality, check out the list of organizations ahead for ways to take action right now.
The Movement for Black Lives
The Movement for Black Lives (#M4BL) is a national network of organizations and individuals working to equip Black people with the training and resources necessary to organize and help shape public policy. Along with allies in Congress, they push for state, local, and federal legislation that protect Black lives from deadly police violence. In 2020, they unveiled the BREATHE Act — a bill that would reallocate federal funds from incarceration and policing to community resources and finding more humane ways to ensure community safety.
The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE)
The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) is a nonprofit organization providing support for community oversight agencies seeking transparency from local law enforcement agencies, jails, and prisons. These agencies are designed to hold local law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve — and do so by conducting reviews and audits that identify bias in investigations, examining policy within police departments, and fostering community dialogue, which is needed now more than ever.
You can make a donation here.
Critical Resistance (CR) is a national grassroots organization working to build a global movement to end the prison industrial complex (PIC). Their mission is to create healthy, viable communities where the basic needs of residents are met, and their outreach centers center the communities harmed by incarceration the most. CR strongly advocates for eradicating (not fixing) the systems that are broken.
Campaign Zero is a project by the nonprofit organization We The Protesters that helps communities create solutions that do not involve police intervention. After the unrest in Ferguson, MO, in 2014 following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, Campaign Zero launched research and advocacy projects that work to end police violence. They also provide assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and help develop police reform legislation.
Emancipate NC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing community education and mobilizing against racialized mass incarceration. They work toward bail reform, ending youth confinement, and providing protection against immigration raids. Their network of volunteer attorneys has represented over 100 Black Lives Matter protesters across North Carolina.
You can make a donation here.
Social Change is a nonprofit that amplifies community voices through storytelling, organizing, and action. In addition to organizing voters and working to reform legislative policy, they also produce the International Social Change Film Festival held in Chicago. Their efforts include providing legal assistance, offering public training on legal rights, and coordinating drives to supply community members with basic necessities.