A 30-year-old black man who reportedly suffered from a disability was killed in El Cajon, California, on Sept. 27, renewing the outrage, sadness, and tension that has permeated the country over the last few weeks. The police shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott reignited the debate about police force just days before this most recent shooting, which will undoubtedly keep the issue going for a while. However, it's important to remember that there's another crucial side to this tragic news story: the victim's. This is going to be an incredibly trying time for his loved ones, but you can do something about it. Here's how to help Alfred Olango's family, because anything you can do will mean a lot as they're mourning their brother, father, and son.
First, and easiest, keep pushing for answers and accountability through social media. The family has a right to answers about how the police are handling the case, and transparency in what information is given to the public. If you don't think something seems right about the case, or if there are questions that haven't been answered, push authorities via social media. If other people feel the same way and the dialogue gets big enough, reporters will start to investigate and hopefully achieve greater transparency for Olango and his family.
You can also give the family monetary support, if possible. A GoFundMe or Kickstarter page usually surfaces after incidents like this, so be sure to donate in order to help the family cover Olango's funeral costs. Of course, be sure to investigate, if at all possible, that the money really is going to the family, and if you have any doubts, don't donate. While direct donation is obviously preferable, you can also give to organizations like the Youth Justice Coalition, a California-based foundation which helps to combat police violence against minorities and build connections between police officers and their communities. A donation made in Olango's name to local organizations like the Youth Justice Coalition will be meaningful and helpful to the family by combating the tension in the community after his death.
Finally, don't hesitate to reach out into your own community to generate awareness for Olango's death. Hold a vigil celebrating his life or a discussion panel on how to keep members of your community safe in police interactions. Hold a unity festival like this town in Texas to bring together members of your community for a moment of joy and celebration, in order to fight back against the anger and sadness. Keep Olango's name on everyone's mind for as long as possible so that maybe his family can feel he didn't die unremembered.
It's so hard to feel effective and supportive when distant tragedies like this occur, but you really can help the victim's family. Olango's family deserves more than knowing he was just the latest on the list of black men shot by police, and if you work to make sure he's not forgotten, you can ease that burden.