How Michiganders Can Fight for Racial Justice

Here are 12 organizations and fundraisers that are working to combat police brutality and other issues
reclaim the block - way to support fight against police brutality
Graphic courtesy of Reclaim the Block

On May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after being arrested by Minneapolis police. Video footage shows officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pinned on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe, and later becoming unresponsive. Two other officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, also assisted in pinning Floyd down while another, Tou Thao, looked on without intervening. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

His death sparked national outrage and protests across the country to demand justice for Floyd. His death was the breaking point, following the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man gunned down while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood, and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Kentucky EMT shot and killed by police in her home.

Aside from protesting, people are looking for ways to show their support. Below are ways to do so — whether by donating time or money or lending your name to the cause of ending police brutality.

Color of Change

The civil rights advocacy organization has created the #JusticeforFloyd petition demanding that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey block the officers involved in Floyd’s death from receiving their pensions and ban them from becoming police officers ever again. The petition also calls for Hennepin County Attorney Michael Orville Freeman to charge Lane, Kueng, and Thao with murder (Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on May 29). Individuals can text “FLOYD” to 55156, and also submit 30-second videos reiterating the demands in the petition. act.colorofchange.org

The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

Organized by George Floyd’s sister, Philonise, this fund will cover funeral expenses for Floyd, grief counseling for the family, and lodging and travel for court proceedings. Proceeds will also go towards the Estate of George Floyd, set up for Floyd’s children. gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

 I Run With Maud

All donations to I Run With Maud will go towards Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, and her immediate family to ensure they have the necessary resources to demand justice for Arbery’s murder. While jogging, 25-year-old Arbery was shot and killed by Georgia resident Travis McMichael on February 23. Travis and his father, George McMichael, confronted Arbery in a South Georgia neighborhood and wrongfully accused him of being responsible for recent break-ins in the area. Video footage of the confrontation and Arbery’s death was leaked in early May. The McMichaels were arrested, and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7. William Bryan, who recorded the footage, was arrested on May 21 on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old licensed EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot and killed during a police raid of her home on March 13. Officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department arrived in plainclothes to execute a “no-knock” search warrant for a narcotics investigation. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, arguing the officers “blindly” opened fire into Taylor’s home, and did not knock at all despite the department claiming the officers announced themselves prior to entry. The lawsuit also says the officers should have called off their search, as the suspect they were said to be searching for had already been arrested. The FBI opened an investigation in late May into Taylor’s death. A Change.org petition demands the arrest of the officers involved, the family be paid in damages, and a session be held with Congress to discuss the constitutionality of no-knock search warrants. Sign the petition and donate here, and visit justiceforbreonna.org to learn more.

Reclaim the Block

Established in 2018, Reclaim the Block organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to divest from the city’s police department and invest in community health and safety efforts. In response to Floyd’s murder, the coalition has started a petition for the Minneapolis City Council to defund the Minneapolis Police Department, and invest in resources for black communities, indigenous communities, and other communities of color. reclaimtheblock.org

Black Visions Collective

Established in 2017, the black, queer, and trans-led, Minnesota-based organization and legal fund works to connect and organize black communities and dismantle systems of violence. blackvisionsmn.org

 North Star Health Collective

Established in 2008, the Minnesota-based North Star Health Collective is comprised of physicians, nurses, healers, herbalists, and doulas who work with mainstream and anti-authoritarian organizations to provide their health services at events. northstarhealthcollective.org

Communities United Against Police Brutality

The Minnesota-based, all-volunteer organization provides a 24-hour crisis hotline for people to report police abuse. CUAPB will sends out crisis teams to investigate police abuse and make legal, medical, and psychological referrals. The organization also offers educational programs on police brutality and issues within the justice system. cuapb.org

 Black Lives Matter

Created in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, this global organization uses programming and campaigns to intervene in the state-inflicted violence inflicted on black communities. Black Lives Matter’s most recent petition calls for the acknowledgment and accountability of the injustices black people face, demands divestment in the police, and the investment in communities. blacklivesmatter.com

The Bail Project

The Bail Project is a national nonprofit working to combat mass incarceration by providing free bail assistance for individuals who are legally presumed innocent and eligible to be released on bail before their trial. Bails are paid through their National Revolving Bail Fund, which is powered by donations. In addition to free bail assistance, TBP has a Community Release with Support model, which provides court reminders, transportation assistance, and referrals to social services. Since the Detroit chapter launched in the summer of 2018, they’ve assisted more than 300 people. TBP Detroit is housed in the nonprofit law firm Detroit Justice Center, which runs the only revolving bail fund in Michigan with TBP. bailproject.org

American Civil Liberties Union

The national nonprofit, legal, and advocacy organization has focused its efforts on issues such as criminal law reform, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights. ACLU published an article outlining individuals’ rights while protesting. aclu.org 

Campaign Zero

The campaign provides policy solutions to ending police violence around the country, including reports on ending broken windows policing, limiting the use of force, body cameras and filming the police, and community representation. An Instagram post states donations to Campaign Zero will go towards data analysis on nationwide policing practices, research towards raising public awareness on policy solutions to end police violence, and more. joincampaignzero.org

Know Your Rights Camp

Created and funded by civil rights activist and football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, this youth nonprofit aims to advance the well-being of black and brown communities by raising awareness on self-empowerment and knowing your rights while interacting with law enforcement. KYRC has worked with more than 1,400 youth through eight camps around the country. knowyourrightscamp.com

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