As a company we have shared several resources with each other on how to fight against systemic racism, and we wanted to consolidate the information and lists here. We hope that this can become a helpful resource for anyone interested. Please feel free to share if you find anything helpful.
Action #1: Make a Donation
There are a number of great organizations that Lo & Sons has supported over the past 10 years that serve primarily Black, minority, or underserved communities. Some examples include the Robinhood Foundation, Start Small Think Big, Justice Committee, African American Teaching Fellows, Dress for Success, Pencils of Promise, Flyte, and Trip of a Lifetime. Here are a few we would like to immediately spotlight.
- Justice Committee is a grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City and empowering low-income Latinx communities and communities of color to address these issues.
- Campaign Zero The comprehensive platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America. When you shop on our site, there is a spotlight donation feature where you can choose to donate to Campaign Zero.
- Watch This Video A quick and simple way to financially help Black Lives Matter if you don’t have the financial means to do so, or are unable to leave your house. This Youtube video is dedicating all ad profit to go towards the cause. Our team members like to keep it on loop while they work.
- Bail Funds The recent protests have generally been peaceful throughout our nation as people exercise their right to assemble in public spaces. Despite this, police have abused their power with excessive force and use of weapons in nonviolent situations. Bail funds are a direct way of supporting protesters who typically have not been convicted of a crime (an unfortunate truth that exists in our country's jail system).
Action #2: Sign a Petition
Rather than make a list we decided to share this existing compilation of petitions worth considering for signature. As a company, we’re allowing our team to designate work hours to participate in signing. In its entirety, it only takes about twenty to thirty minutes to sign the full list.
Action #3: Take Civic Action
Our leadership team has always been big proponents of having our voices heard effectively through communications with our elected representatives. We encourage our team and our audience to continue fighting the good fight utilizing the following resources.
- Resist-Bot is an automated system that allows you to quickly and efficiently write your elected officials on matters that mean most to you. It’s as easy as texting your friends with simple prompts asking you who you would like to write and what you would like changed. A team member ended up getting a personal phone call back from her senator letting her know what actions he’s put in place because of all the letters he’s received (including hers), so these simple texts can really make a difference. Text the word “RESIST” to 50409.
- Repeal 50A Writing a message can be tough. Fortunately, if you are a New Yorker looking for additional ways to take action, our community has made a quick, easy, simplified resource for you to use pre-written scripts to write to officials. Link to the shared doc here.
Action #4: Vote!
Some noteworthy statistics from the 2016 election:
- 71% of eligible 65+ year old people voted
- 67% of eligible 45-64 year old people voted
- Less than 50% of 18-29 year old people voted
We’ve blocked off voting day in our company calendar to ensure our team members are able to practice this civic liberty and actively encourage our team members to exercise their right to vote. If you can, are you registered to vote? Do you know how you’ll be voting, either in person or with a mail-in ballot? If either of the answers to these questions are “no” or “not sure,” that is something you can quickly do today!
- Rock the Vote A nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people. Register to vote here.
- Vote Forward Vote Forward works to increase voter turnout, which is especially important in electoral college areas that tend to flip any given election year. They provide a template that you print, sign, fold and mail. You simply supply the paper and stamp.
- Postcards2Wisconsin This organization was created after seeing how 80,000 votes in states like Wisconsin and Michigan swung the presidential election in 2016, because of our Electoral College system. You can sign up to send postcards (which they will provide to you) to voters in Wisconsin and/or Michigan encouraging them to vote. Afterwards, they send a list of names/addresses & a simple, respectful script. Finally, you fill out the postcard and place a stamp. From there, they give you the date they want you to mail the postcards.
- Reclaim Our Vote Focuses on contacting and helping register voters of color in states where there’s been significant reports of voter suppression. The focus for 2020 is the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. You can volunteer to phone, text, or send a postcard. If you live in one of these states you can also volunteer to canvas/drive people to the polls.
Action #5: Read & Educate Yourself
There are many excellent books in multiple genres available. Please consider shopping and supporting a local Black-owned bookshop (click here for a list).
- "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism" by Robin DiAngelo
- "Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do" by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
- "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
- "From Slavery To Freedom: A History of African Americans" by John Hope Franklin
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “An African American and Latinx History of the United States” by Paul Ortiz
- “How To Be Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi
- “Stamped From The Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi
- “Women, Race, and Class” by Angela Davis
- “Between The World And Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “They Can’t Kill Us All” by Wesley Lowery
- “Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Essays and Poems” by Audre Lorde, Sara Ahmed and Reni Eddo-Lodge
- "A More Beautiful and Terrible History” by Jeanne Theoharis
- “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
- Sesame Street's "We're Different, We're the Same" by Bobbi Jane Kates
- "A Terrible Thing Happened" by Margaret Holmes
- "The Colors of Us" by Karen Katz
- "Let’s Talk About Race" by Julius Lester
- "Happy in Our Skin" by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia
- “The Youngest Marcher” by Cynthia Levinson
- "Dear White People" by Justin Simien
- "This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work" by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand
- “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
Action #6: Stream & Watch Content
- The Hate U Give, George Tillman Jr.
- If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
- Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow
- 13th, Ava Divernay
- American Son, Kenny Leon
- Dear White People, Justin Simien
- When They See Us, Ava Duvernay
- Just Mercy, Destin Daniel Cretton
- Selma Ava Duvernay
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
- I Am Not Your Negro, James Baldwin Documentary
Action #7: Listen to Black Voices
Whether it’s on the news or your social feed, start following and listening to Black voices. Listen to and share their stories. Here’s a short list of some recommended follows from our team.
Recommended Follows on Instagram
- Code Switch
- Small Doses with Amanda Seales
- It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders
- The Nod
- What A Day
- Still Processing
- Jemele Hill Is Unbothered
- Hear to Slay
- Hello Somebody with Nina Turner
- About Race
- Pod Save the People
- The Diversity Gap
- Bound for Justice
- Dear White Women
Action #8: Have Conversations
Knowing that it was important for us to talk about these issues as co-workers, we have instituted regular meetings to check in on our progress as a company and continue to share resources and support one another. These conversations can be challenging, but we know that's what makes them worthwhile. We were able to exercise our core values of CITES: communication, integrity, teamwork, empathy, and sustainability by discussing the systemic racial inequality as a team with compassion and respect towards each other.
Places to consider bringing up a productive dialogue about racism:
- Within your place of work
- Within your circle of family, friends, and neighbors
- Within your local community
- Within your online social network
- Within academic institutions
- Within places of worship
- With your favorite brand(s)
If you need help with kickstarting or navigating conversations a great resource is People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
Action #9: Attend A Protest
We’ve allowed and will continue to allow our team to take time out of their workday to attend protests. If you are New York-based like our company, a great resource for the latest and greatest protest information is @JUSTICEFORGEORGENYC. However, there are many accounts on social media that can provide information for your city or town locally.
We’d like to kindly remind everyone that we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety of our community is so important. Please be sure to take the following steps as per the New York City Health Department’s recommendations.
- Wear a face covering
- Wear eye protection to prevent injury
- Stay hydrated
- Use hand sanitizer
- Don’t yell; use signs & noise makers instead
- Stick to small groups
- Keep 6 feet from other groups
And some additional recommendations from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman for NY-14: Bronx and Queens.
- LOOK OUT FOR THINGS THAT DON’T SEEM RIGHT. There are increasing reports and investigations that white supremacists may be infiltrating these protests, breaking windows and destroying property. If anything seems off to you, DOCUMENT IT. Always check who is organizing.
- FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF GRASSROOTS BLACK ORGANIZERS. They have been at this a long time and are disciplined in the ropes of community organizing and demonstration. It IS a discipline. Follow trusted leaders whose goal has been the focused pursuit of justice. If they just showed up, that’s a red flag.
- HAVE A BUDDY. Make sure someone is keeping an eye on you and check in on them.
- STAY SAFE and take care of each other.
Action #10: Don't Stop, Commit for the Long Haul
If you have any additional resources you'd like to share feel free to drop them in our comments below or enter into this Airtable form, where we’ll be checking back for suggestions.
We will be continuing our conversations internally as a team in our ongoing, long term commitment to Black Lives Matter.
Lo and Sons – leading on another front! Great products, great heart, great leadership. Thanks
I can’t thank you enough. A lot of companies have paid lip service to what’s happening but The time and effort you put in to create this informative list is amazing and deeply appreciated. As an African-American I can’t tell you what it means to have people actually listen to what we’re saying and care. I never thought this would happen in this country. Thank you!!
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