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Resources to Combat Structural Racism in America

As thousands participate in civil protests in their communities, this critical moment calls on each and every one of us to reflect, step up, and do more.

  • June 11th 2020

The Aspen Institute is committed to building a free, just, and equitable society. This requires us to focus on sustainable solutions to combat structural racism, police violence, and inequitable economic, health care, and education systems. It also requires all institutions, including ours, to ask what more we can and should do to live up to our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We share in the anger, pain, and grief felt by people around the world following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Countless Black Americans have been unjustly killed as a result of the persistent and structural racism and discrimination that continue to grip the country.

As thousands participate in civil protests in their communities, this critical moment calls on each and every one of us to reflect, step up, and do more. As a starting point, below is a collection of resources to consider today, and build on the work of advocacy groups, local communities, and organizations who have been fighting for justice for decades. Moving forward, we will continue to engage our colleagues and networks to put our commitment to social justice into practice.

We must acknowledge how we may have contributed to perpetuating injustice, resolve to confront racism, and commit to supporting Black Americans in ways that can lead to lasting change.

Learn what’s happening around the Institute:

America’s neck is broken. We can survive, but we have to act. — by Eric Liu, executive director of the Citizenship and American Identity Program

We Must Keep their Names Alive — by Douglas Wood, director of the Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

5 Books That Shine a Spotlight on Racial Injustice — from Aspen Words

Aspen Challenge winners create an alphabet book to teach about diversity, compassion

Tips for Creating an Inclusive Virtual Space from our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

Progress and Struggle: Race in US Society — a collection from the Aspen Ideas Festival

Donate

• George Floyd Memorial Fund

• Justice for Breonna Taylor Fund

• Community Justice Exchange’s National Bail Fund Network: The National Bail Fund Network lists community bail and bond funds around the country to help free people by paying bail/bond and to fight to abolish the money bail system and pretrial detention.

Learn, Support, Get Involved

ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Minnesota are jointly calling for a fair, independent, and transparent investigation following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Black Futures LabBlack Futures Lab works with Black people to transform our communities, building Black political power and changing the way that power operates—locally, statewide, and nationally.

Black Lives MatterBlack Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, their aim is to win immediate improvements in Black lives.

Campaign ZEROCampaign ZERO was developed with contributions from activists, protesters, and researchers across the nation. This data-informed platform presents comprehensive solutions to end police violence in America. It integrates community demands and policy recommendations from research organizations and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Center for Policing Equity: Over the last 10 years, the Center has partnered with over 25 police departments nationwide and demonstrated the transformative impact of data-driven interventions.

Color of ChangeColor of Change is an online racial justice organization that leads campaigns that build power for Black communities. Their mission is to challenge injustice, hold corporate and political leaders accountable, commission game-changing research on systems of inequality, and advance solutions for racial justice that can transform our world.

Community Healing NetworkThe Community Healing Network’s mission is to mobilize Black people across the African Diaspora to heal from the trauma caused by centuries of anti-Black racism, to free ourselves of toxic stereotypes, and to reclaim our dignity and humanity as people of African ancestry.

Equal Justice InitiativeThe Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Know Your Rights CampOur mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.

NAACPThe mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

The Race Card Project: In 2010, journalist Michele Norris began inviting people to distill their thoughts on the word race to only six words. Today, more than 500,000 personal narratives, from all 50 states and 96 countries have been collected.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.

Showing up for Racial JusticeSURJ’s role as part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society.

Southern Poverty Law Center: The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

Stand with BreBreonna Taylor had dedicated her whole life to serving others. An aspiring nurse, she had been working as an EMT in Louisville when the coronavirus pandemic hit, working at two hospitals to save lives in her community. She survived repeated exposure to COVID-19 only to have her life cut short

Learn about current Congressional Bills on Crime and Law Enforcement

Support Black-Owned Businesses

• I am Black Business

• Support Black-owned

• Support Black-owned bookstores

• Support Black-owned restaurants in Washington, DC 

Talk To Those Around You

Host a (virtual) dinner conversation using the Heal Our Communities Dinner Conversation Guide

Learn how to talk about recent events using Talking about Race from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Read books with your children

These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids from the New York Times

31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism and Resistance from Embrace Race

Social Hashtags

Consider following these hashtags to learn more about the movement and work being done:

• #BlackLivesMatter

• #BLM

• #GeorgeFloyd

• #BreonnaTaylor

• #AmplifyMelanatedVoices

— written by Christen Cromer & Azalea Millan, Aspen Institute

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