5 Ways Student Organizations Can Mobilize Against Anti-Black Racism

Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, college students in cities across the country have mobilized or joined protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality. 

An event of this magnitude can only occur as a result of repeated system failure. We all have a great personal responsibility to stand against police brutality by calling lawmakers and fighting for the eradication of racism. Her Campus has put together some ways you can join other college students fighting for justice—but we also wanted to offer some next steps for student leaders and campus organizations that are looking for ideas to mobilize right now. 

1. Release an action plan for how you will actively support Black students on campus

It's imperative for multicultural groups and their allies to fight back against bigotry. Within your organization, come up with an action plan for how you’ll promote inclusivity. Here are a few ideas to start: 

  • Give minority voices the chance to speak first during general meetings.
  • Appoint a diversity and equity chair.
  • Gather input from black students on how you can better support them. 
  • Partner with off-campus organizations that prioritize anti-racism. 
  • Have members attend a diversity training session. 

“I want reassurance that university leaders condemn police brutality and white supremacy, especially from groups like College Republicans, Democrats and Greek life, ” says Briana, a junior at Howard University. “We can’t all connect together right now on campus, but we need to find ways to support each other, and come together in some sort of solidarity for Black communities.”  

Any steps that your organization can take to educate on Black history, support Black students, and advance the presence of Black people in predominantly white environments will offer immense support.

2. Hold a town hall 

A town hall meeting is where members of your group and other students can ask questions and give their feedback to organization leaders. As leaders, you can hear the concerns made, acknowledge them, and diligently try to improve. Town halls also allow space to make sure that everyone understands the goals and values of the organization. The University System of Georgia has a helpful guide to hosting town halls on college campuses, which can be easily modified for a virtual gathering. 

3. Share resources and reading materials

Especially if your organization’s history is as a predominantly white-dominated space, this is an important time for members to listen, learn, and self-educate on Black history and police brutality. The good news is that there’s a plethora of reading material and resources already out there! Consider reviewing these together as a group, or at least emailing them out to organization members:

4. Donate funds

Open. your. purse. As demonstrations against police brutality and white supremacy continue, one of the most helpful ways to support is donating money to organizations fighting for racial justice, health collectives, and bail funds. 

Ask everyone in your organization (and their friends) if they’d be willing to share $5 via Venmo, and then donate the money collected. Set up a group text for donation matching. Plan an online event, show, or workshop and invite Black cultural organizations to co-sponsor the event, and then put the money to good use. 

Here are a few places that need your attention: 

5. Host a phone banking event

Host a virtual phone bank with members of your organization to call the offices of police departments, attorney generals, mayors, and lawmakers in the cities and states where Floyd, Taylor, Arbery, and McDade were killed. Open up the phone bank to other volunteers from your college, and make sure to provide phone banking scripts, facts about anti-Black police brutality, and mental health resources. Even better: make this the first of many events throughout the year that show commitment to standing in solidarity with the Black community. 

“I participated in a phone banking event via Zoom this weekend with other Harvard students, and it felt like a really tangible way to rise above performative allyship,” says Domonique, a senior student at Harvard University. “Also, the organizers provided helpful resources for first-timers who wanted to be involved but had never phone banked before, and that mobilized me to be able to do this again on my own later when I continue to champion the Black community.”

It feels like there is no simple solution to stop all the injustices in our system, but that doesn’t mean you can stand idly by. Let lawmakers hear the many voices demanding change and protesting institutionalized Black violence. Amplify Black voices at your school. Resist going backwards. Link out to bail funds. Screenshot your donations and ask friends to match you. Choose to see. Support Black Lives Matter.

We're updating our "justice" Instagram Story highlight daily on @hercampus to continue to provide resources that can help you demand change.