It has been a little over a week since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson and there has been no rest for the weary in Ferguson. With militarized police presence, protesters, reporters, and an ever-looming sense of hostility and violence many, particularly those who don’t live in or near Ferguson, are wondering, “What can I do from where I am?” Below are some of the ways that people can help Mike Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, and the black community in general.
1. Donate money to Michael Brown’s family.
The Brown family attorney started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral and burial costs as well as travel and living expenses for the family as they seek justice for their son..
2. Purchase supplies for protesters on the ground.
Protesters in Ferguson are initiating clean-ups and are in need of supplies. A group of Spelman college women came together and created an Amazon.com wish list where people can purchase necessities for protesters and organizers such as toiletries and snacks. So far $11,995.90 worth of supplies have been delivered to Ferguson.
3. Attend marches, vigils, and rallys in your city
This past weekend alone 119 vigils were organized across the nation and there are plans for more within the next few days. These marches, vigils, and rallies are a show of solidarity across the miles and they are seeds planted toward change.
4. Sign the petitions for the “Michael Brown Law” and for federal law changes
There is a petition circulating calling for police to be required to wear cameras body cameras (at the time of publishing the city of Ferguson has pledged to outfit police officers with vest camera) as well as a petition to enact federal laws that will protect citizens from police violences and misconduct.
5. Help Churches that Are Helping in Ferguson
Churches in Ferguson are pitching in to help with clean-up efforts, providing lunches and activities for youth while public schools are closed, and providing crisis counseling to families in the area. Click here for a list of some of the churches in Ferguson that you can help.
6. Join and support movements that have vested interest in civic engagement
Indeed hashtags and tweets have spread awareness and helped people to mobilize in Ferguson but what is also needed is a long-term commitment to to civic engagement and seeking justice. Organizations such as Black and Brown People Vote are focusing on early engagement with minority voting populations in order to get 1,000,000 to the polls this November. They are doing so through education on policies that directly affect persons of color, engagement with other civic and social organizations to arm them with resources for their constituents, and generally empowering black and brown persons to realize their ability to effect change.
If you aware of other ways that people can help Ferguson or get active in the long-term fight for justice for young black men please let us know in the comments below.