With Barack Obama's recent departure from the White House, the arrival of the Donald Trump presidency, and the Trump administration's prioritization of excluding communities of color from the country, observing Black History Month with intention feels particularly critical this year. One way to do so is to learn about organizations serving black communities today.
Though the United States finally had a black president, anti-blackness is by no means a chapter in this country's past. One need only look to the scourge of mass incarceration and the racial wealth and income gaps, among other injustices. But there are immense numbers of people and organizations working to address these inequalities and work for the liberation of black people in America for good.
As more and more people in this country are finding their places in activist movements, it's important to build upon and support the work of people who have been doing this for a long time. Here are just a few of the many great organizations advocating for the rights and interests of black people in the U.S. that you can support in various ways.
National Urban League
The National Urban League is one of the country's oldest, largest, and most trusted African American social justice organizations. Through its 95 affiliate chapters, the Urban League advocates for the rights and interests of black people all over the country. Locally, its housing and financial empowerment programs will continue to try to fill in racial equity gaps in these areas. Nationally, the organization will be an important force in holding Trump and his administration accountable.
Black Alliance For Just Immigration
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) is a national organization that focuses on bringing black immigrants and African Americans together to fight for the rights of black immigrants. Their work is only becoming more critical in Trump's presidency. Currently, BAJI is working to raise $25,000 to support their Black Immigrant Defense Fund, which will, among other things, go toward funding legal counsel for black immigrants facing deportation.
Black Lives Matter
You've probably known about the national Black Lives Matter movement/organization since it came to national attention for organizing protests in Ferguson after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. BLM continues to call attention to the many injustices and fight for black liberation through its 38 official chapters. You can join them in celebrating #BlackFuturesMonth this February.
SisterSong is a Georgia-based collective of women of color fighting for reproductive justice. And while the organization advocates for justice for all women of color, its programs Trust Black Women and Black Mamas Matter work to center black women's issues specifically. In addition to offering and publishing reproductive justice resources, SisterSong provides training to develop the movement's organizers and leaders.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Originally the legal arm of the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is a separate entity that focuses on fighting for justice for African Americans and other racial minorities in America's courtrooms. Its most famous case is Brown v. Board of Education, which, as you may know, they won. Today, the LDF is still fighting segregation in U.S. schools, but also has recently turned its attention to speaking out on Trump's cabinet and SCOTUS nominees.
African American Policy Forum
The African American Policy Forum, or AAPF, is a New York City and Los Angeles-based, intersectional think tank that regularly publishes reports on police violence, community organizing, and gender-specific injustice. Their work highlighting the police brutality against black women specifically will be crucial as Trump works to carry out his promise of bringing the return of "law and order" in the U.S.
Ida B. Wells Society
Named after one of the country's most fearless and talented journalists, the Ida B. Wells Society is focused on increasing representation of people of color in investigative journalism. They provide trainings, conferences and other resources to up-and-coming journalists of color, and highlight stories on the black experience, particularly by black reporters. In a time where all investigative journalism is under extreme stress, the Ida B. Wells Society is providing much-needed support to a particularly marginalized segment of the news media.
These are only some of the many organizations around the country working for the interests of and equality for black people in America. With just a little bit of digging, you can find more doing great work even closer to home.