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MIT Technology Review

Instagram’s blackout means well—but doing these 4 things is more useful

A mural in the memory of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mn. A mural in the memory of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mn.

“Blackout Tuesday” has overtaken Instagram, but there are more effective ways to show support.

What’s Blackout Tuesday? If you’ve been on Instagram today, you may notice black posts. The movement was started by musicians calling for “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change." But if you want to support the protests against police brutality without marching, there are many other useful ways to do so.

  1. If you can afford to, donate money. In the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, activists urged people to donate to local organizations such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund and Black Visions Collective. But the movement has outgrown Minnesota. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Bail Project, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are among those seeking donations. Medical donations are also being accepted to help injured protestors, including North Star Health Collective and the Gas Mask Fund.
  2. You don’t need to have cash to help. Consider calling to ask protesters and organizers if they need basics such as water, masks, hand sanitizer, even snacks. These supplies can be critical for protestors. If you’re in a city that’s seen looting, see how you can help with cleanup or beautification efforts.
  3. Call those in power. It’s an election year. If you care about police brutality and accountability, take the time to look at candidate stances and records and vote. Call your representatives to demand attention to police brutality.
  4. Confront your own biases. You might not think of yourself as a racist, but it’s important to understand how your words and actions can hurt people of color. Reading antiracist books is a good first step, but do more. Point out when a person is showing their white privilege: things they might benefit from as a white person that a person of color might have trouble accessing. Consider supporting a business owned by someone of color. It’s easier said than done and can sometimes be uncomfortable, but these smaller steps can lead to greater understanding.