02 Jun June Is BLM Month: How To Support This Vital Movement
June is a month with many important dates that are recognized on a national and even international scale. It’s PRIDE month, for one, and of course, Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday in June.
And Black Lives Matter month begins on June 1st. This incredibly important movement began in 2013, simply as a hashtag created by community workers in Los Angeles. They were outraged by the acquittal of law enforcement officers in the killing of a young Black teen, Trayvon Martin. Soon it was a viral meme that people around the country – and soon around the world – acknowledged showing agreement with, and support of, the central idea that yes, the lives of all Black people – and other people of color – matter very much indeed.
Since then, the movement has become an international powerhouse fueled by the desire for social change, equality, and justice.
In this post, we offer ways that you and your family can support and help to advance the BLM movement.
1) Support Black Lives Matter with a financial donation.
BLM now has countless chapters around the country. In all likelihood, there is one in your city or town. Whether the one in your community is big or small, it no doubt needs financial assistance to operate and keep its events and activities going. Making a contribution is a great way to demonstrate your agreement with, and support of, everything that BLM represents.
2) Attend marches, speeches, and other BLM events.
While supporting it financially is important, showing up for events BLM sponsors is even more crucial. Raising awareness of social justice issues is a key part of the BLM platform, and it does that through community events. Take the whole family, and after attending an event make sure you discuss it with your children. Their awareness level of BLM causes and concerns depends largely on you, particularly when they are young.
3) Support those who support Black Lives Matter.
By that we mean, to help elect officials who also fight for change, as the BLM movement does. Make your voice heard by helping to elect politicians who agree with and lobby for BLM policies.
4) Don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations.
Racism isn’t easy to talk about, but doing so is essential if progress is to be made. Examining your own biases, even if they are unconscious, and the biases of others, is crucial if we are to get beyond them. After attending a BLM march or event, sit down with the family and talk about equality, racism, and the need for justice and change.
5) Encourage your child to write about the movement for a school essay.
Fortunately, children in America today are taught about the civil rights movement. As an extension of that, suggest your child chooses the Black Lives Matter movement as a topic for an essay or school presentation. And while you may not want them to focus solely on the problems in society, it’s important that they don’t shy away from the facts – the deaths of young Black men by law enforcement officials, for example. That was the impetus behind BLM in 2013, and while progress has been made, too many of those incidents keep happening. The death of George Floyd in May 2020 is an example of how Black men are too often still treated by unlawful police officers. Helping your child learn about these occurrences, and teaching them why they are wrong, is one way real change begins. After all, it is by teaching the next generation what’s right that parents help ensure they are equipped to help fight prejudice.
6) Make support of BIPOC artists and authors a part of your everyday life.
Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) artists in every discipline contribute enormously to the cultural fabric of the country. In June, begin buying books by Black authors if you don’t already – there are many diverse voices in print today who write amazing books for children. And pick up a few titles for yourself, too, when you’re out at your local independent bookstore or browsing the “bookshelf” on Amazon. At the bottom of this post, we suggest two links to check out, one for children’s books by Black authors, and one with a list of grownup titles that are recommended by Oprah Winfrey. Also, make a point of going to a movie or concert created by a Black filmmaker or composer, or check out an exhibit at a gallery by a Black painter. Supporting Black creative achievements is another way of supporting the community as a whole.
June is a time of renewed energy and joy – summer arrives, and everyone feels just a little bit sunnier and happier outside in the warm, fresh air.
But it is also a month to pause, take stock, and recognize the achievements of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many advances have been made in the last years, but there is still work to be done. You can help by supporting the BLM chapter closest to you, in whatever form is right for your family. Social justice, equality, and fairness for all are not just abstract concepts. They are achievable goals that can happen if everyone works together to fight for positive change.