Social Justice

How To Help Beirut, Demand Justice For Breonna Taylor, & More Actions To Take This Week

What you need to know to help.


Even if you follow the news as much as your mental health can handle, it can be hard to know what issues to focus on. A quick tour of causes you can support this week can help you cut through the noise and make the change you want to see.

Showing up for the issues and people you care about can take a lot of different forms. Donating to disaster relief after an explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, is one way to step up for the international community. Emailing your colleagues about corporate "woke-washing" is a way to make a difference at home. You can also participate in virtual workshops to remember how to breathe in tough times, or to learn how to have difficult conversations about white fragility. Keep paying attention to Breonna Taylor — you can still sign this petition, because justice has yet to be done. If you have the emotional bandwidth, you can train to become a volunteer for the Trans Lifeline, a crisis hotline by and for trans people (that cis people can help with, too). Below, you can find a petition to sign, an email to write, a conversation to have, and places to donate or volunteer if you want to make a difference.

You can't do something about everything — but if you feel like you're spiraling at the state of the world, you might feel better if you do one thing about something. Here are five actions you can take this week to support five important causes.

Donate To Beirut Disaster Relief

On Aug. 4, a warehouse explosion in Beirut's port leveled entire neighborhoods, killing at least 137 people, injuring at least 5,000, and displacing hundreds of thousands. Our colleagues in the UK put together a comprehensive list of ways to take action from abroad, including donating to Live, Love, Beirut, which is pooling funds to assist NGOs in the region; Impact Lebanon, a non-profit whose JustGiving campaign has already raised over £5,000,000; or Beit El Baraka, which assists elderly citizens in the region.

Email Your Colleagues About "Woke-Washing"

Since the 2016 election, you've probably come across the phrase "now more than ever" more, uh, than ever, but its use has kicked back up as corporations scramble to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests. This phrase is an example of corporate woke-washing, when businesses send out "messages of support" that don't really support anyone, but allow businesses to pat themselves on the back for doing something.

Harvard Business Review wrote about the phenomenon of woke-washing, suggesting that companies, you know, do the work — like building relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to recruit Black talent and engaging Black employees in senior management.

Then, share the article with colleagues or your supervisors, if you have that relationship, as a friendly reminder to ensure messages of support are backed up by ongoing commitments to keep doing the work.

Sign This Petition For Justice For Breonna Taylor

Even though Oprah dedicated her magazine's September issue to Breonna Taylor's life, justice has yet to be done. Around five months after the EMT was killed by police in her own bed, you can still sign and send this petition demanding justice to your friends and family. Even if you're not in Louisville to support the ongoing protests, you can help keep Taylor's life from fading into yesterday's news.

Get Comfortable Talking About White Fragility

For white people, part of learning to act in anti-racist ways is building emotional resilience so that white fragility — when white people can't get through a basic conversation about race without becoming defensive — does not get in the way of justice and equity. The Black, trans-led artist co-op Activation Residency has created workshops on white fragility and sessions for non-Black folks on solidarity efforts. Participating in workshops like these can help you get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. This can give you the tools to understand why it's not OK for your white colleague to center themselves when talking about oppression, or why you get so defensive every time someone makes a joke about Karens.

The Activation Residency is also offering free aromatherapy sessions for QTBIPOC and free breathing workshops for Black and low-income folks. Check back for when their next workshop(s) on dismantling white fragility will be, and keep a lookout for similar workshops from BIPOC-owned wellness organizations.

Volunteer With The Trans Lifeline

With services in both Spanish and English, the Trans Lifeline is available to trans folks at (887) 565-8860 when we're feeling alone or in crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Calls about family rejection are up almost 50%, Trans Lifeline says, and there's been an 89% increase in calls about suicidal ideation.

The hotline is answered only by trans and nonbinary people, so now might be a great time to volunteer if you're trans or nonbinary and have the emotional capacity to do so. If you're trans, 18 or older, live in the U.S. or Canada, have private, secure phone access, and can commit two hours a week to staffing the hotline, Trans Lifeline will provide you with over 30 hours of training and continuous mentorship throughout your volunteer experience. If you're cis, you can volunteer to staff the family line, which is for loved ones of trans, nonbinary, and questioning folks. Whatever your gender journey, you can learn more about volunteering for the hotline in Spanish or in English here.