Arts & Culture News

How to Contribute to Social Justice Reform in North Texas

Volunteers helped clean up Deep Ellum last Saturday after storefront windows were smashed in the neighborhood.
Volunteers helped clean up Deep Ellum last Saturday after storefront windows were smashed in the neighborhood. Jay Gavit
With racial tensions across the United States already at a rapid simmer, the recent killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor have raised them to a rolling boil. Since late last week, thousands in North Texas have taken to the streets to protest police violence against black people.

But Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton have issued curfews in an attempt to stymie rioting. Gov. Greg Abbott has even deployed Texas’ National Guard to monitor protests in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Further complicating matters, the ongoing pandemic has kept some would-be demonstrators at home. CNN reported that COVID-19 cases have increased thanks in part to these gatherings.

Not everyone who supports the movement is able to attend a protest. Even some demonstrators may feel like they’re not doing enough to help. Here are some other ways you can support communities hurt by police brutality.

Donate to One of These Local Organizations Dedicated to Social Justice Reform:

The Afiya Center
Founded and operated by black women, The Afiya Center seeks to quell reproductive oppression. African-American women are at a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS than women in other communities. The Dallas organization has created a bail fund in response to the city’s recent demonstrations. Those who have been arrested because of the protests or curfew are encouraged to fill out a form to receive legal assistance.

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
Located in Carrollton, the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition was founded to improve black trans lives, particularly in areas like health, employment and housing. They’ve set up a grant program to help provide trans people with necessities like food and shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Black Youth Project 100 is a national nonprofit organization of black youth activists working to create justice and freedom for all. Although it was originally founded in Chicago in 2013, it’s since opened a Dallas chapter. Donations to BYP100 will support the organization’s daily work as well as provide bail funds, legal support and mutual aid for black activists.

Dallas Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression
This grassroots organization works to stop police wrongdoing, prison profiteering, economic inequity and racist political repression.

Faith in Texas
Faith in Texas is a multiracial and interfaith organization seeking to reduce Dallas’ jail population through its work with people affected by the prison system. Its Luke 4:18 Bail Fund helps post bail for currently and formerly incarcerated people. Now, the group is striving to bail out activists jailed for their participation during the ongoing protests.

The House of Rebirth

A North Texas-based nonprofit organization, The House of Rebirth supports black trans women by providing resources for counseling, housing and medical needs. Among THOR’s ultimate goals is to lengthen the lives of African-American trans women who are at a disproportionate risk of being murdered, especially in Texas.

Mothers Against Police Brutality

The Dallas-based Mothers Against Police Brutality seeks to redesign the system that protects trigger-happy police officers from ever facing murder charges. Founder Collette Flanagan’s son was killed by a Dallas police officer who was never punished for his actions. MAPB ultimately hopes to restore trust between police and the citizens they serve; it calls for greater civil rights, policy reform and police accountability.

Next Generation Action Network

The Next Generation Action Network is a Dallas nonprofit organization of young leaders aiming to end social injustice through civil and community reform. It has set up a fundraiser to bail out activists arrested during the George Floyd protests. Funds accrued will also help pay for demonstrators’ legal expenses.

North Texas Dream Team

Since 2010, this Dallas-based volunteer organization has provided free services to undocumented people living in North Texas. It’s also worked to provide them with information and resources during the coronavirus pandemic. Among other demands, the North Texas Dream Team is calling on Dallas to divest from the police and end the war on black people.

Texas Organizing Project

With a branch in Dallas, the Texas Organizing Project works to empower indigent and working-class people via community organizing and electoral and civic engagement. In addition to improving health care and immigration policies, it’s also calling for increased police accountability and sweeping prison reform.

Shop at Black-owned Establishments and Businesses that Support Black Lives:

The coronavirus pandemic has capsized many small businesses, but it’s proven to have disproportionately affected those with black owners. Minority-owned establishments have been largely overlooked by federal assistance programs, and few have received aid from the Payment Protection Program, according to The New York Times.

Additionally, rioting and looting have damaged some black-owned businesses in Dallas. West End restaurant BurgerIM was among them, as rioters smashed its windows last Friday night, according to a report by WFAA.

To help keep them afloat, it’s important to eat and shop at local minority-owned establishments. Instagram user @verogaskey compiled a list of black-owned Dallas businesses.

If you don’t live in Dallas, you can still put your money where your mouth is. Denton T-shirt company Norman Roscoe, which is co-owned by Midlake rocker Eric Pulido, is selling a custom shirt emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Rule.” At $25 each, 100% of the proceeds will benefit social justice groups like the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Don’t Shoot PDX and the Portland General Defense Committee.

Some national companies are also joining the movement and on Wednesday, Bandcamp announced it will waive its share of sales on June 5 to support musicians impacted by the coronavirus. Instead of pocketing the profits, many of those artists have promised to donate their proceeds to social justice organizations. Additionally, Bandcamp has also vowed to give 100% of its share of sales on Juneteenth (June 19) to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter