With everything happening around us, finding the next step in serving justice is what’s on everyone’s mind. The main focus is ensuring police brutality and killings of innocent Black people won’t continue to happen. Lately, the push for change has been voiced through protesting, rioting and looting but after that’s done, the push should still be relevant.
There’s a common misconception that Black people don’t vote. According to the Pew Research Center, 2016 was the first year where a decline in Black voters took place. In the previous election year, Black people made up for almost 65% of the entire voting demographic. Today, we see more voter suppression within the Black community and that tells us that we can have the upper hand if we come together and make our voices heard.
It’s more to it than just voting for who we think is the best candidate. We have to pay close attention to everyone we elect into a position of power and ensure they have our best interest in mind. We must also draw up a list of demands and see who can meet those demands for our community. This also means continuing to politically advocate for the community by sitting in on town hall meetings, communicating concerns to local leaders and doing the research necessary to have an educated, political opinion.
Don’t let the movement die.
If you look on social media now, the common timelines have gone back to “normal.” #BlackLivesMatter is no longer trending along with the names of the victims who need to be served justice. Yes, it is a tiring and upsetting topic but we can’t stray away from it. The more we push the envelope and make people uncomfortable, the more work will be done.
Within the couple of months of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rashad Brooks and Elijah McClain, more attention has been given to the cause. While it is a shame that it took the deaths of these people for the rest of the country to realize the issues Black people face, we’re getting some sort of progress that wasn’t there before. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint, as Tamika Mallory would say, and we can’t stop talking and fighting just because it’s not being talked about anymore.
Support and uplift your community.
Continue to advocate for your community and show up where it counts. Your rage led you to protests now let your support lead you to Black-owned businesses and other advocacy ideas. While we’re still living through a pandemic and the new restrictions that come and go, small businesses and Black-owned businesses have been consistently fueling communities with necessities and different trades we didn’t think we’d need.
Black people spend about $1.2 trillion annually and are the highest consumers companies look to. If we could take at least a quarter of that money and fund it into the Black community, we’d be unstoppable. When you shop with Black-owned businesses, you’re funding a business that supports your community and lifting the job market for other Black people. Social media pages such as @officialblackwallstreet and @webuyblack started challenges and initiatives to highlight Black-owned businesses that cater to replace some mainstream spending. With the popularity of the idea of rebuilding Black-owned businesses and the Black community, Black-owned businesses are highlighted almost everywhere.
The protesting and rioting caught the country’s attention but now it’s time to show them we mean business. What’s been started will not die in vain and we’re not going to be easily persuaded with a few murals. Do what you feel is necessary to do to get your voice heard and continue to fight for what’s right in every way possible.