By Zahra Billoo
For too long now, unarmed Black men and women have been killed in police interactions. Thus far this year, over 130 Black men and women have been killed in such circumstances.
This week, our hearts broke as we learned about the deaths of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling. And we have since watched in horror with news that yesterday’s peaceful anti-police brutality protests in Dallas turned violent when an armed gunman with no ties to any organization or group allegedly began shooting at police officers, resulting in the tragic deaths of five police officers.
During times like these, it can be easy to feel helpless. The list of things you can do below is intended to empower you to put your frustration and grief into action, channeling it effectively for good.
- Pray for an end to the killings of unarmed Black men and women by police.
- Stay updated about this frightening, ongoing issue and the lack of accountability when these killings happen:
- Sign one of the several petitions that have been put together by advocacy organizations asking our elected officials to take action:
- Attend a rally or vigil for #BlackLivesMatter. There are several happening in the Bay Area, making it very easy to find one in your neighborhood.
- Know your rights while attending protests
- Know your rights when recording the police at protests and elsewhere
Converse about #BlackLivesMatter with your children, family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Keep it top of mind for everyone:
- Speak out publicly against anti-Black violence, racism, and police brutality by writing letters to the editor. Tips on how to do this effectively:
- Realize that we must care for ourselves while fighting against anti-Black violence and racism.
- Muslim Wellness Foundation has this excellent self-care primer for Black Muslims and others.
- Support Black-led organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Muslim Alliance in North America, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund which are all working on the front lines of these issues, and whose voices reflect the most impacted
- Share and like relevant articles and posts about these issues on Facebook and Twitter
Zahra Billoo is a civil rights lawyer and executive director at CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). A version of this article originally appeared in Huffington Post.