- On May 25, 46-year-old Minneapolis resident George Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him down during an arrest by using his knee.
- Since, protests have erupted demanding justice for Floyd's death, just the latest example of inequality, racism, and police brutality in America.
- If you're looking for a way to join the movement against racism, ahead, eight ways you can take action now, from donating to supporting legal organizations.
On Monday evening, the Minneapolis police department received a call from a Cup Foods employee alleging that a customer had tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill. After arriving on the scene, officers found George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, inside a car and ordered him out. Videos taken by bystanders captured the horrifying confrontation, in which Officer Derek Chauvin forcefully pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes—despite Floyd, who was already handcuffed, repeatedly saying "I can't breathe." Minutes later, he became unresponsive, and shortly after the violent encounter, Floyd died at a medical center.
The gruesome incident—which came just weeks after the high-profile deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor—has sparked protests across the country in Los Angeles, New York City, Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and other cities. While Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter—and the three other officers involved have been charged with aiding and abetting murder—the fight for justice continues. "This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America. It can't be 'normal," former President Barack Obama said in a statement. "If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."
Here are just a few ways you can demand justice for Floyd, and support anti-racism efforts across the country—and as Oprah herself has said, to not let his name be just a hashtag.
*Note: This list will be updated frequently by the editors of OprahMag.com.
Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
To help cover the costs of everything from funeral and burial expenses to mental and grief counseling, lodging, and travel for all court proceedings, Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, started a GoFundMe to assist his family in their time of need. Additionally, a portion of these funds will go to the Estate of George Floyd, which benefits his children and their educational fund. To send cards, letters of encouragement, or contributions in the form of a check, you mail them to:
The Estate of George Floyd
c/o Ben Crump Law, PLLC
122 S. Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Attn: Adner Marcelin
Black Visions Collective
Black Visions Collective is a black, queer, and trans-led Minnesota nonprofit that's committed to creating a community where all black lives not only matter, but also thrive. Since 2017, the group has organized campaigns to cut police budgets, invest in community-driven safety strategies, and train activists.
Reclaim The Block
Reclaim The Block is a Minneapolis-based coalition that asks and organizes local leaders to invest in the city's communities—not its cops. Since 2018, activists from the coalition have spoken at public government meetings to argue that policing is not the answer to large issues facing the city—like homelessness and opioid addiction—but can, in fact, worsen it. Instead, they advocate that the city needs to redirect funding to community-based solutions and services tailored to each issue, which they educate the public about year-round.
The Bail Project
In its 10 years of operation, The Bronx Freedom Fund—New York City’s first community bail fund—served nearly 2,000 borough residents with 90 percent of cases closing without a criminal conviction. From that success, The Bail Project was born in 2017, which has provided free bail assistance and pretrial support to more than 10,000 people nationwide, while also working to advance bail reform. In the wake of the protests across the country, the Bail Project will its funds to provide assistance to protesters in cities where it has offices, including Chicago, Louisville, Houston, New York City, and St. Louis.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
"I don’t want to talk about looters at this point I want to talk about an officer of the state, licensed, paid for with taxpayer money, given a gun and a badge and the right to take human life."— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) May 29, 2020
-@Sifill_LDF on @mitchellreports pic.twitter.com/QKM9yTalgA
Founded in 1940 by legendary civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has spent the last 70 years advancing the goals of racial justice and equality. From legal victories in state and federal courts—which serve as the foundation for the civil rights that all Americans enjoy today—to increasing graduation rates among African American students, protecting voters across the nation, and decreasing disproportionate incarceration and sentencing rates, this legal organization works tirelessly to make America into a more just and inclusive society.
Launched by Black Lives Matters activists in 2015, Campaign Zero has a single—but lofty—goal: to reduce all police violence in the US to zero. To do this, Campaign Zero calls on policymakers at every level of government to adopt its 10-point plant, which includes ideas like ending broken windows policing (a style of policing that goes after minor crimes and activites), limiting use of force, equipping all officers with body cameras, and requiring officers to go undergo training on a quarterly basis.
Know Your Rights Camp
In fighting for liberation there‘s always retaliation. We must protect our Freedom Fighters. We started a legal defense initiative to give legal representation to Freedom Fighters in Minneapolis paid for by @yourrightscamp— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 29, 2020
For representation or to donate https://t.co/q0pzAObCiG
In 2016, Colin Kapernick co-founded the Know Your Rights Camp, which was inspired by the pain and anger the former quarterback experienced after 26-year-old Mario Woods was fatally shot by five officers in San Francisco. Since then, the youth-empowerment initiative has traveled to seven cities, providing more than 1,400 brown and black kids and teens with legal knowledge for navigating violent encounters with police officers, as well as advice for how to thrive in the areas of health, self-empowerment and finance. In the wake of George Floyd's death, Kapernick set up the Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, a fundraiser that will help pay for the defense of protestors nationwide who may be in need of legal assistance.
Equal Justice Initiative
Founded in 1989 by criminal-justice crusader Bryan Stevenson, the Equal Justice Initiative has spent the last three decades offering legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons; challenging the death penalty and excessive punishment; providing re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people; and providing research and recommendations to help policymakers working on criminal justice reform. In 2018, the nonprofit unveiled the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, a six-acre site that honors the thousands of victims of lynching during the Jim Crow era.
The LGBTQ Freedom Fund
Did you know that in the Unites States, queer individuals are three times more likely to be incarcerated than their heterosexual counterparts? Every day, thousands of LGBTQ people are held in jail or immigration detention simply because they can't afford bail—which is why the LGBTQ Freedom Fund was started. To date, the organization has posted bail for LGBTQ people in 15 states (and counting!), and is currently working to pay protestors' bail in South Florida.
The American Civil Liberties Union
Since 1920, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has worked tirelessly in all 50 states—as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico—to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. In the wake of George Floyd's death, the ACLU urged Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to ask Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to lead any prosecutions related to George Floyd's death, which happened Sunday.
Communities United Against Police Brutality
Formed after the death of Charles "Abuka" Sanders by Minneapolis police, Communities United Against Police Brutality is an all-volunteer organization that meets every Saturday to combat police brutality in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area through political and legislative action, education, research, and providing services and support for victims and their families.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund
Overwhelmed w/ support - TY— Minnesota Freedom Fund (@MNFreedomFund) May 28, 2020
& if our donation link wasn't working - usually it's bc PayPal is too busy, try again in a few usually works
& spread the love to other movement orgs too - drop links below
TY for your patience as we focus on bail support
keep the pressure on pic.twitter.com/YW71MMdKGY
In an effort to fight America’s cash bail system, which disproportionately impacts lower-income people, the Minnesota Freedom Fund has been posting small cash bails for people who otherwise couldn't afford them. Now, in the wake of the protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the grassroots organization—which has attracted the attention of celebrities like Lin Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, and Mark Ruffalo—is partnering with the National Lawyers Guild and the Legal Rights Center. The Freedom Fund will now use donations to reduce the burden of bail for protesters who’ve been arrested. [Note: In just over four days, the Minnesota Freedom Fund raised $20 million. Following the huge influx of donations, the organization is asking that future donations go to Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block.]
To Contact Minneapolis Officials
Send a Letter
Benjamin Crump, a national civil rights and personal injury attorney who is representing the family, recommends writing a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey or Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz to demand justice, accountability, and policing changes. Not sure what to say? The letter shared in this petition offers a helpful script.
To Sign a Petition
This petition from Color of Change demands that Mayor Frey block all four officers from receiving their pensions and ban them from working as police officers again and that County Attorney Michael Freeman releases any protestors who've been arrested. The petition has already exceeded its goal of 4,000,000 signatures, but you can still sign the petition at the link below or text "FLOYD" to 55156.
Justice for George Floyd
This Change.org petition—which is now the largest and fastest-growing petition in the company's history—is also trying to get the attention of Mayor Frey and District Attorney Freeman and to show the citizens of Minneapolis that more than 10 million people around the world stand in solidarity with them.
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