Black lives matter. In the weeks since George Floyd’s death, some strides have been made at various levels towards supporting that statement, but racism is systemic, and it has a long history. The work that has just been getting started needs to be sustained in the long run in order for there to be lasting change, and it starts with the individual. So, as readers, as writers, as lovers of the written word, what can you do to support the BLM movement? We have three ideas.
If you’re looking to support the Black Lives Matter movement directly, we recommend donating to local organizations like: Black Lives Matter Houston or the Houston Bail Fund, which is “assisting protesters secure bail, legal representation, rides from jail, and other resources.”
If you want to support on a national scale, the NAACP is working for justice through legal action, and there are also plenty of arts and/or writing-focused groups that support black artists. These include Black Lunch Table, which “intends to fill holes in the documentation of contemporary art history” and the Hurston/Wright Foundation, whose goal is to “discover, mentor and honor a world of talented and exemplary Black writers.”
Donating to any of these organizations will be contributing much-needed support for the movement as well as for black individuals.
You can help simply by doing what you do best: reading. Educate yourself with some anti-racist reads like Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad or So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
Aside from anti-racist education, though, incorporate black authors into your everyday reads! Read black poetry and black fiction writers. Some of our favorite contemporary works by black authors include novel, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, short story collection, What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyemmi, poetry collection, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, and the play, The America Play by Suzan-Lori Parks.
For more books to read by black authors, check out this list from Penguin Random House.
Houston is full of incredible black businesses that readers and writers can support, many of which can be found in categories ranging from “Finance and Insurance” to “Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores” at HOUBLKBUS. While you’re there, you can also donate to HOUBLKBUS’ grant for black-owned Houston businesses!
Some of our favorite Houston restaurants with black owners are The Breakfast Klub and Soul Food Vegan, but even more can be found at Click2Houston. Texas also has four black-owned bookstores you can buy from--maybe to get some of those books we mentioned above? They are:
Each of these locations offer online ordering and delivery right to your door. Regardless of what products you’re most interested in, buying from black-owned businesses is a great form of support!
What are some ways you’ve been supporting BLM? What are some of your favorite books by black authors? Let us know in the comments or on social media and we’ll share your story!