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In the wake of protests, here’s how you can help

After yet another police killing of an unarmed black man, protesters across the United States are demanding criminal justice reform on behalf of George Floyd and others who have died at the hands of law enforcement.

Organizations and activists are mobilizing on several fronts. They’re working to protect the protesters, to reform policing, to change laws and to provide services needed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, here are some constructive ways to spend your money and time:

Donate to national organizations advocating for broad change.

Organizations like the NAACP and the ACLU are advocating for changes in law enforcement on the national level.

Other groups focus specifically on police reform. Campaign Zero works to develop alternative policing methods, and the National Police Accountability Project mobilizes lawyers to take action against police violence.

Donate to local groups in specific cities.

Grassroots organizations are distributing funds and aid to communities affected by protests. In Minneapolis, where demonstrations began, Black Visions Collective is spearheading police reform efforts, and Reclaim The Block advocates to steer public funding towards community-building initiatives.

You can also support a particular place through its bail fund; there’s a comprehensive list here.

Reflect on your own community’s policing.

Follow the lead of the Jewish Federation of Greater Cleveland, which directed its members to start thinking about how law enforcement works in their area by reading this list. Do they require officers to wear body cameras? To take part in de-escalation trainings? What else do you want to know?

Sign a petition or make a call.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, suggests supporting the NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying campaign, which offers petitions about both the federal coronavirus response and the justice for justice for George Floyd

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice is urging New Yorkers to call city council members and protest New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed budget, which would cut health and human services while leaving police funding largely intact. You can find a call script and add your name to the organization’s petition here.

Local ACLU affiliates often list resources for contacting lawmakers about key issues. Find yours and see what action you can take by phone or email.

Educate yourself.

In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April Baskin, the racial justice director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, said that especially in the midst of tragedy, it’s exhausting for people of color to repeatedly explain anti-racist work to well-intentioned but ill-informed white friends.

You can start learning about anti-racist work with this reading list from Ibram X. Kendi or this one created in response to the week’s events. To find out more about the history of white supremacy in America, check out this selection.

If you have kids, you can talk to them about this week’s events and the history of systemic racism using this guide from the Anti-Defamation League or this collection of online resources from the Center for Racial Justice in Education.

For advice on tough conversations with adults, Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race” is a good starting point.

Don’t forget the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Even as public attention shifts, fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues. Help get food to those in need by volunteering with the UJA Federation of New York or donate to organizations funding hunger like Mazon, the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, or City Harvest.

Support organizations like HIAS that protect immigrants and refugees during this crisis. And mutual aid networks have sprung up in New York City and across the nation in response to coronavirus — look for one near you and see what you can do to help.

Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at connelly@forward.com.

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