Your voice makes a difference. His voice makes a difference. Her voice makes a difference. My voice makes a difference.
I have heard countless amounts of people on social media, in my community, in my friend groups, and in my own house ask these questions and repeat these statements:
How can I help?
How can I make a difference?
Why does my voice matter?
There is no right answer.
There’s nothing that I can personally do to make a difference.
I’m over it, I don’t care anymore.
Think about this for just a second. What if, ALL of the people who made comments like these listed above, chose to STAND UP and DO something. Even just one tiny little thing. Imagine the impact we would have if we all did one teeny tiny little thing, together. You can do something. It’s like the age old saying goes — where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Here are 10 things you can do to help make a difference:
Let’s clean up social media
Just today, I looked into the #blackouttuesday hashtag and found some disturbing comments left by (now ex-) followers of accounts who were posting the color block in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters. Those types of comments = hate speech and should be reported. YOU can help clean up social media by reporting hurtful and racist comments.
To report a comment on Instagram, do the following:
- Open the comments and swipe left on the inappropriate comment.
- Select the exclamation point to start the report.
- Select “It’s inappropriate”.
- Select “Hate speech or symbols”.
That’s all you have to do, and it takes 5 seconds or less (believe me I counted. 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi… :)) You have just effectively helped to clean up and discourage hate speech on Instagram.
To report a comment on Facebook, do the following:
- Tap and hold your finger on the offending comment until the menu of options pops up.
- Select “Find Support or Report Comment”.
- Select the problem category. Some examples include “violence”, “harassment”, “hate speech”, and “terrorism”.
To report a comment on Nextdoor, do the following:
- Tap the down arrow/carrot and select report comment.
- Select the issue.
Maybe you don’t see any derogatory comments. I didn’t originally either. But if you look again, you will find them, I promise. If nothing else, you are showing a great act of kindness to the owner of the affected account.
You can donate to support George Floyd’s family.
Here is a link to their GoFundMe page.
You can donate to support those in need in Minneapolis, and to help rebuild the city’s devastated neighborhoods.
No dollar amount is too small. $1, $3, $5, $100, or $500. Your donation can help.
I am personally keeping track of organizations on the ground floor of Minneapolis neighborhoods who are helping to gather and provide supplies to those who live in the total loss neighborhoods of Minneapolis.
Why does Minneapolis need our help? Why do these people need our help? What about insurance?
Minneapolis is my home as much as Charleston is my home. I lived there for 10+ years, right in the heart of the city. I walked to and regularly relied on grocery stores and other businesses that are now a pile of rubble and ashes. I have family and friends who live there year-round. I birthed two children there. My family is back and forth between the Twin Cities and Charleston multiple times per year, and we plan to live there again (seasonally) in the near-ish future. I have personal stock in Minneapolis, and I want to help where it matters the most.
I have created a space for donations on my website, www.joy-ist.com. If you want to give but don’t know where to start, don’t have time to do the research, or plain just don’t know — please feel free to go there to leave your donation. You will receive a donation receipt, and your donation will go to benefit the people and small businesses who live in the affected areas of Minneapolis.
As donations come in and are distributed, a running list of beneficiaries will be listed and updated regularly at www.joy-ist.com.
Keep your eyes and ears open. If you see something, say something.
This goes online and in person. Anywhere. We all can (and should) be allies. Hate speech is ignorant. Intimidation is ignorant. Making someone feel bad for the color of their skin, their sexual identity, their culture, their societal status…all ignorance. And people who make others feel bad for any of these reasons should be called out. No, not because we are not kind. But usually because if you feel like you’ve been called out on something, you might think twice.
I’m not saying to be mean. I’m not saying to get into an argument or engage in fights or debates. Standing up for what is right and openly standing with someone, is all it takes. Be an ally. When you OPENLY show that you’re not in alignment with the attacker, I promise it will give them cause to think twice.
Have difficult, but loving conversations with your family and friends.
I’ll be the first to admit, this is not easy. It takes a lot to let your guard down and be truly open. It helps to approach the conversation from an informed and educated place. Make sure you have done your own research, and stay objective with the facts at hand. Use your best listening skills. While facts are black and white, feelings may not be. Try to understand where people are coming from, and do your best to help them fill the gaps in their understanding (or misunderstanding). An open ear and a lot of love, mixed in with facts and education can go a long way in changing the world in your own house.
Look for the helpers, and be a helper.
You can help clean up or volunteer in your town/community/neighborhood. How? Utilize our good friend Google to research volunteer opportunities. I typed in “VOLUNTEER TO CLEAN UP MINNEAPOLIS” and immediately came up with relevant hits. You can also check with local media as they are helping to get the word out on where hands and resources are needed.
Do you live in a town where cleanup relating to recent events is no longer a pressing need? Pick another organization who can use your help. There is ALWAYS something we can physically do to contribute.
You can also organize your own cleanup or volunteer event. You don’t have to wait for someone else to do it! For example, check out this page on the City of Charleston’s website by ‘Keep Charleston Beautiful’.
You can seek and share information.
For example — here is a YouTube video that you can watch for FREE to offer financial assistance without actually donating any money of your own. How does this work? All of the ad revenue from the video will be donated to the following organziations depending on level of need at the time of donation: Brooklyn Bail Fund, Minnesota Freedom Fund, Atlanta Action Network, Columbus Freedom Fund, Louisville Community Bail Fund, Chicago Bond, Black Visions Collective, Richmond Community Bail Fund, The Bail Project Inc, NW Com Bail Fund, Philadelphia Bail Fund, The Korchhinski-Paquet Family Gofundme, George Floyd’s Family Gofundme, BlackLivesMatter.com, Reclaim the Block, ACLU.
Pay it forward.
No matter how large or small, every act of kindness makes a difference. Go ahead and pay for that Starbucks order behind you. Keep an umbrella, extra towels, shelf stable snacks, and old blankets in your car to offer to homeless on the streets. Write a handwritten thank you note. Offer to take your friend’s child to soccer practice so she can get a break. It doesn’t matter what it is, we all have the power within us to brighten someone’s day.
Color of Change is the largest online racial justice organization in the United States working to end the war on Black people in our country. Joining the platform is as simple as texting DEMANDS to 55156. There are often petitions you can sign digitally to help make a difference in under two seconds.
Write letters to your local authorities and legislators.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips published by the ACLU on how you can speak up impactfully.
Bonus Tip: You can simply spread LOVE, kindness, and joy.
How? It’s easy. Be nice to everyone in your path. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open. Help pick up spilled items. Give out directions. Lend a helping hand. Let that car with the turn signal into your lane, versus expecting that someone else will let them in.