Image via Lindsey Archer
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, so many of us are looking for ways to take action in the fight for racial justice. While there are many lanes of activism, one great way to stand in solidarity with the Black community is to put your money where your mouth is. If donating to the cause is a way you’d like to get involved, we put together a list of organizations for you to consider. While this is not an exhaustive list (not even close!), these organizations are putting in the work day in and day out for a more just and equitable future.
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, they are winning immediate improvements in the lives of Black people. The Black Lives Matter Memphis chapter is a grassroots community organization in Shelby County that works to promote justice and equality to all.
Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America. Campaign Zero calls on local, state, and federal lawmakers to take immediate action to adopt data-driven policy solutions to end this violence and hold police accountable. Funds donated to Campaign Zero support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.
Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. They help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by 1.7 million members, they move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. As part of their work, Color of Change leads campaigns that build real power for Black communities. They challenge injustice, hold corporate and political leaders accountable, commission game-changing research on systems of inequality, and advance solutions for racial justice that can transform our world.
Founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and bestselling author of Just Mercy, EJI is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. We challenge the death penalty and excessive punishment and we provide re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. We are committed to changing the narrative about race in America. EJI produces groundbreaking reports, an award-winning wall calendar, and short films that explore our nation’s history of racial injustice, and we recently launched an ambitious national effort to create new spaces, markers, and memorials that address the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, which shapes many issues today.
Voter suppression of voters of color and young voters is a scourge our country faces in states across the nation. Georgia’s 2018 elections shone a bright light on the issue with elections that were rife with mismanagement, irregularities, and unbelievably long lines and more, exposing both recent and also decades-long actions and inactions by the state to thwart the right to vote. Fair Fight promotes fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight also brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.
George Floyd was murdered when a white Minneapolis police offer kneeled directly on his neck, obstructing his ability to breathe. The George Floyd Memorial Fund was established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist his family in the days to come as they continue to seek justice for George. A portion of the funds from the George Floyd Memorial Fund will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.
Inspired by the work of the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office, Just City was founded in 2015 by a group of activists, attorneys, and civic leaders. Their mission is to advance policies and programs within Shelby County and the State of Tennessee that strengthen the right to counsel and mitigate the damage caused to families and neighborhoods as a result of contact with the criminal justice system. They aspire to be a powerful, independent voice to support the individuals, children, and families who are, or have been in contact with, the criminal justice system; to advocate for strong, consistent adult and children’s right to counsel policies; and to accelerate community-driven solutions to the problems present by the criminal justice system.
The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. They achieve this through award-winning journalism, partnerships with other news outlets and public forums. In all of their work they strive to educate and enlarge the audience of people who care about the state of criminal justice.
Founded in 1982, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is a multi-issue, multi-race organization whose mission is to engage, organize, and mobilize communities to realize social justice through nonviolent action. Their existence has been prompted by the chronic problems of social and economic injustice prevalent in the Delta South and especially in Memphis. They believe the response to the challenge of violence can only be found by addressing inter-related causes of injustice such as poverty, racism, and unequal access to resources necessary to meet basic human needs.
MLK50 launched on April 4, 2017 as a one-year project and has since grown into a full-fledged nonprofit digital news site focused on poverty, power and public policy. They’re a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and follow the organizations ethics policies. This nonprofit reporting project on economic justice began in partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum’s MLK50 commemoration.
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), formed in December of 2014, was created as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political condition, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. They operate under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately.
This is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.
Reclaim the Block began in 2018 and organizes 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. They believe health, safety and resiliency exist without police of any kind. They organize around policies that strengthen community-led safety initiatives and reduce reliance on police departments. They do not believe that increased regulation of or public engagement with the police will lead to safer communities, as community testimony and documented police conduct suggest otherwise.
At REFORM, the Alliance started with the unjust re-imprisonment of recording artist Meek Mill due to minor technical probation violations. The shocking two-to-four year sentence Meek received in November 2017 spurred the international #FreeMeek movement, which lead to his release on bail in April 2018. While Meek had the resources and public platform to fight his case, he and the other founders of REFORM recognized that his case is only of millions – and that the vast majority of people trapped in the system don’t have the resources to fight back. At REFORM, they are bringing together leaders in business, government, entertainment, sports, technology, art, and culture to give voice to the voiceless.
The New Tri-State Defender is a weekly African American newspaper serving Memphis and the nearby areas of Arkansas, Mississippi and the rest of Tennessee. It was founded in 1951 and is one of the longest continuously-published African American papers in south. The Tri-State Defender and TSDMemphis.com is your home for news, entertainment and information specifically focused on the African-American community in Greater Memphis and beyond.