11 social justice organizations to support during Black History Month
It should go without saying that celebrating Black History Month means more than revisiting the stories of Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks and then forgetting all about the contributions of Black folks until next February rolls around. We may only have one month that’s officially dubbed Black History Month, but our history is something to celebrate all year ’round, especially in a country that was built on Black labor and that continues to borrow from our culture. There are several ways to honor and support Black people this month, but it’s especially important to extend support to the social justice organizations that are fighting to liberate Black people.
It’s even more important, if you identify as an ally, to put your money or your time into the organizations that are working to eradicate the many injustices that Black people still face. And if you’re not sure where to start, ahead are 11 social justice organizations to support this month, and every month.
Social justice organizations you can support right now:
Founded in 1908, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is one of the oldest and largest civil rights organizations, with a storied history of working toward political, social, and economic equality for Black people. With nearly half a million members leading grassroots campaigns, the NAACP has an incredible record of spearheading change—including lobbying for the passage of the Civl Rights Acts of 1957, 1964, and 1968, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
More recently, the NAACP’s mission for the 21st century has been outlined in its six “Game Changers,” which its website describes as “economic sustainability, education, health, public safety and criminal justice, voting right and political representation, and expanding youth and young adult engagement.”
2The Trayvon Martin Foundation
After losing their son Trayvon Martin in 2012 to gun violence, parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin started this non-profit organization to help other families deal with the emotional and financial fallout of losing a child to similar circumstances. With the backing of members and several companies, the organization is seeking to shift conversations toward reforming gun policy, while providing support, leadership, and counseling to affected families.
Starting as a conference in 2000, the founders of INCITE! came together with the goal of ending violence surrounding women of color in all its forms, including mass incarceration, attacks on immigrants, threats to reproductive rights, and hate crimes against queer women of color. Now, the organization offers resources for WOC looking to fight police brutality in their communities, stop the unjust imprisonment of Black people, end gender and race violence, and combat sexual assault in the military.
4Black Women’s Blueprint
Formed to draw attention to how the intersectionality of race and gender should be considered when examining greater social justice concerns, the Black Women’s Blueprint is currently working toward research and policy advocacy that can address the struggles of Black women within their community. Some of the many resources it offers are corporate and community trainings through its Institute for Gender and Cultural Competence to educate the public on the prevention and intervention against gender violence, along with webinars to address how sexual abuse can impact a woman’s health.
5Black Lives Matter
Your support of Black people is null and void if you’re unable to acknowledge the fact that Black people are disproportionately subjected to violence and brutality at the hands of police.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) was formed in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi as a direct response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. It has since become a standout example of digital activism, spawning a viral hashtag and becoming a national movement with more than 40 chapters across the country, all with the goal of intervening in police violence against Black people and affirming the importance of Black lives.
You can support Black Lives Matter by donating or getting involved with a local chapter in your city.
6Trans Women of Color Collective
Conversations about the violence that threatens Black lives often fail to spotlight Black women and femmes, and trans people are especially at risk. Indeed, 2018 was dubbed one of the most violent years for those who identify as transgender—and 82% of the trans people murdered were women of color.
The Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) works to provide access, opportunities, and a supportive community for trans and gender non-conforming people of color, but especially Black trans women and femmes.
7Audre Lorde Project
Audre Lorde Project (ALP) is a New York-based organization that focuses on community organizing for LGBTQ+ individuals of color.
Since 1994, the organization has worked to address the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community through mobilization, education, community wellness, and social justice initiatives.
You can support ALP by donating, volunteering, or becoming a member.
The Atlanta-based organization and its staff, which mainly consists of Black women, provides preventive education and outreach to help women of color fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. One of the group’s initiatives includes a coalition of women’s health advocates and health care providers who work to educate and provide access to PrEp for women of color.
Sister Love accepts volunteers and interns who want to help support its mission.
9Black Youth Project
The Black Youth Project (BYP) aims to examine the attitudes and culture of young, urban, Black millennials and explore how these factors impact their lives.
BYP conducts research, creates social initiatives, and publishes editorial content written by Black millennials in the areas of race, culture, gender, and sexuality.
To support BYP’s mission, you can donate or contribute content.
10Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code (BGC) is on a mission to get more Black women working in computer programming, a field in which they are chronically underrepresented.
Since 2011, the organization has brought workshops and after-school programs to various communities to provide computer coding lessons to young girls. And BGC hopes to teach one million Black girls how to code by the year 2040.
You can help BGC reach its goal by donating or volunteering your time.
11Black Alliance For Just Immigration
At a time when our government has adopted a decidedly anti-immigrant rhetoric, an organization like the Black Alliance For Just Immigration (BAJI) is working to unite Black immigrants and African Americans.
The organization seeks to build community among all members of the African diaspora by encouraging Black immigrants and African Americans to work together to achieve social and economic justice.
Founded in 2006, BAJI organizes dialogues between members of the diaspora and has initiated campaigns in places like New York, Georgia, California, and Arizona.
Outside of attending local events, you can support BAJI by donating or purchasing some of its merchandise.