Editors' Thoughts: Educational Resources to Support Black Lives Matter

If the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has taught our country anything, it is that most Americans are grossly undereducated about Black history and culture. That is why Her Campus American is using our platform to help our readers find and access resources they need to educate themselves and their community.

Each editor has compiled lists of podcasts, television shows, movies, books, petitions, organizations, activists, magazines, newspapers, online websites and more that are dedicated to educating the public on why the Black Lives Matter movement is so vital to reforming and bettering our country.

  1. 1. Activists 

    Black Lives Matter sign holders, protesters

    In the past two weeks, the world has seen an overwhelming amount of support from a wide range of activists, influencers, and politicians. While there are an insane number of leaders in support of Black Lives Matter, it is also important to recognize people that are creating change on the ground level. People have taken to social media by storm– supporting Black artists, influencers, dancers, singers, educators, students, scientists– you name it.

    This movement is becoming increasingly universal with local and federal leaders at the front lines. The mission is diffusing rapidly, with million upon millions of people raising their fists with the Black Lives Matter movement. There are a few activists that are important to recognize as their sacrifices are incredible. Student activism is taking on a new level of awesome with students organizing protests, propagating resources and information on social media to help educate others on racial and social justice. Across the nation, students have rallied behind the BLM movement and have founded branches of the movement. The Youth Vanguard, founded by Thandiwe Abdullah, and the Black Lives Matter Youth Coalition, founded by Nupol Kiazolu in the South Bronx, are examples of the powerful activists in the movement. These students are absolutely incredible. 

    John Lewis, one of my personal role models, is also a voice that amplifies this movement. “You must be able and prepared to give until you cannot give any more,” Lewis said. “We must use our time and our space on this little planet that we call Earth to make a lasting contribution, to leave it a little better than we found it, and now that need is greater than ever before.” The Congressman and lifelong activist has inspired generations of social justice activists and continues to use his platform to spread messages of hope and “good trouble”.

    This movement is truly revolutionary and with the powerful activists and influencers, the momentum will not cease until justice is served.

    --Hannah Andress

  2. 2. Podcasts, Movies & TV Shows

    forest whitaker the butler movie

    Mainstream news can often be overwhelming and does not always have the depth or clarity we need on topics as complex as systemic racism. This is why we need podcasts, TV shows and movies.

    A podcast that is definitely worth the listen is “In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer”. It is a hard-hitting expose of Black stories that have been suppressed by northern European historians. From Greek and Roman civilizations up until the 20th and 21st century, this podcast uncovers the Black history we always needed.

    One TV show that speaks to not only the Black community, but also the LGTBQ+ community is “Pose”. It is an American drama series directed by Ryan Murphy that follows gender-nonconforming ballroom culture in New York City. Although it is fictional, it speaks to the reality of Black LGTBQ+ people.

    If you are a fan of horrors and comedies, I highly suggest watching either “Get Out” or “Us'' directed by Jordan Peele. While both movies are the perfect mixture of thriller and laugh-out-loud comedy, they also touch on the harsh– and often scary– realities of being Black in America.

    So, if you feel like you need a break from the news, but still want to learn about the Black history and experience in America, definitely look into these podcasts, TV shows and movies.

     --Christina McAlister

  3. 3. Alternative News Outlets

    think before you speak sign

    It’s been strange to watch these past few weeks how traditional news outlets have struggled to keep up with the news cycle surrounding the protests and riots that we’ve been witnessing as part of this movement for Black equity. Suddenly, there’s just no way to keep up with everything that’s happening, because even more traditionally progressive news just doesn’t have the same reach as individuals who are actively participating in the moment. Watching or reading news from these sources (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.) does not seem to ever show the full picture.

    Instead, we’ve seen protesters and allies alike turn to social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to share news, photos and videos, often in real time. It seems like a new age of news, in which resources can be readily shared and be made available to a much wider audience than before. We’ve also seen that traditional news sites are hesitant to cover some of the more controversial moments of the Black Lives Matter movement, and often censor the images or content they choose to present during the news cycle.

    We’ve also seen the emergence of websites that catalogue Black-owned businesses in different areas in the US, such as Black-owned bookstores and cafes/restaurants. These are a really great resource for people looking to support the Black community, and it’s super easy to google “Black-owned restaurants in [insert city here]. I did it for Black-owned restaurants in my city, Houston, TX, and got so many new places to try!

    Additionally, other resource pages are popping up everywhere, which catalogue info to educational sites. A great example is the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) which was founded by prominent civil rights activist and attorney Bryan Stevenson. Black Lives Matter also has a website, which has resources and news for people looking to get involved further. Take the time right now to really evaluate where you get your information, and look at some new ways to educate yourself on anything you can! 

    -- Emma Semaan

  4. 4. Organizations, Donations & Petitions

    silence is violence protest sign

    Black Lives Matter has developed into a massive global movement over the years, and as such, there are many organizations, petitions, and other BLM-related initiatives to support. By now most of us know about the widely-spread BLM carrd, an in-depth page with links to dozens of petitions, the contact information of various representatives and departments, and many more resources.

    Petitions can certainly be effective when put to good use. Many of them are found on Change.org, a for-profit organization where millions of people come together to sign and show their support for causes they believe in.

    Signing these petitions is important, but it’s also necessary to share them with your representatives and other state officials. Most petitions on their own- with the exception of federal government-sponsored petitions from We the People, which require an official White House response if they get 100,000 signatures– are only as useful as what the people do with them. Contact police departments, state officials, and your representatives, share the petitions with them, and urge them to take action.

    Aside from signing petitions, there are many BLM-specific organizations around to support and donate to. Notably, the BLM national organization itself has come under criticism for several years now for their lack of transparency about what exactly happens with the money they receive. Make sure you know where your money is going, by supporting transparent organizations, grass roots initiatives and mutual aid networks instead! Here is a list of local mutual aid networks broken down by state. A great organization is the Black Visions Collective, a black, LGBT+-led organization that connects black communities in order to fight and dismantle racist systems. You can also search for local organizations and use sites like Charity Navigator to see if they check out.

    There are hundreds of opportunities within reach for us to support BLM whether we have money or not. If you can’t afford to donate, sign petitions and reach out to state representatives. Try volunteering for local organizations and charities, which often run on volunteer-based labor. And above all, use your voice and any platforms you have to spread the word and share resources.

    --Nicole Scallan

  5. 5. Books & Literature

    Quarantine and stay-at-home orders are still in effect across counties and many individuals have picked up the pastime of reading. Why not do something productive with your new hobby and start educating yourself and those around you to support the beautiful and powerful Black community.

    Some of the most educational and eye opening books you will find are The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by civil rights lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander, How to be an Anarchist and Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. Each of these books are either non-fiction or memoir genre that incorporate key parts of Black history as well as the world today through politics, social justice and even sociology.

    But educating yourself on Black history doesn’t mean sticking to only non-fiction reads. Novels such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas are a great way to tap into the power, pride, culture and perspective of the Black community as well as their history. Each of these novels were written by Black female authors, so learning about them will only further enhance any insight you gain from their novels.

    There are countless online lists to continue finding books to support BLM as well as many bookstores in the DMV area to support Black local businesses. Don’t be afraid to start a book swap with those around you to, not only further educate people, but to keep the BLM movement moving forward.

    --Peyton Bigora

We hope this information and these resources to educate find all of our readers well. Her Campus American stands with everyone in Black community, so know we will not stop using this platform until there is justice.