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After the recent police brutality incidents and unjust murders of Black people, individuals all over the nation have shown their sorrow, frustrations, and anger towards this injustice. For some, support comes in the form of protest. For others, it may be donations, new conscious spending habits, or self-reflection and education. Wherever you find yourself supporting Black Lives Matter, remember to keep that support alive and well. This is an ongoing movement for justice, not a brief moment to contribute.
Additionally, we need to recognize that the injustices faced against Black, Indegenous, and people of color (BIPOC) is part of a larger systemic and institutionalized problem. Institutionalized racism affects individuals and families on a financial, educational, and judicial level. On top of that, it greatly impacts the mental and physical health of so many BIPOC.
With this ongoing fight for justice, we must remember how deeply rooted racism is in our country. In this article we will walk you through 10 local (Pittsburgh) and national organizations working in various fields of racial injustice.
The Bukit Bail Fund is a Pittsburgh run organization that proves financial support to those incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail. The name originates from Frank “Bukit” Smart Jr., who died after jail staff put restraints on him while he was having a seizure. The purpose of this organization is to ensure that people aren’t in jail for a long time just because they can't afford to leave.
They are aware of the disproportionate amount of BIPOC individuals incarcerated. That is why their organization prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and people of color, who are at a higher risk of facing violence while in prison.
1Hood is an art and activist collective providing Pittsburghers with the resources to make change in their community. This organization uses art to bring a greater awareness towards racial injustices happening in Pittsburgh and around the nation. Additionally, members of 1Hood are often attending protests. In fact, they actively helped with a teen-led sit-in at Bakery Square.
They are constantly using their platform to educate. With the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has been an amazing tool to get their messages to people. Recently, they led a virtual discussion about how the disease disproportionately affects the Black community.
Their work has not gone unnoticed. Just recently, they were featured in an episode of CNN’s United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. In this informative segment, W. Kamau Bell talks with members of 1Hood about the presence of White Supremacy in the media. Their discussion goes deeper into the lives and fears as Black teens. This episode is a must-watch and a great way to get familiar with 1Hood.
People’s Oakland is another Pittsburgh organization doing wonderful work right now. Their mission is to help people struggling with mental (and physical) illnesses. Originally, the Peoples Oakland Mental Health Program was founded in response to the crisis faced by thousands of state mental hospital patients who, through deinstitutionalization programs, were released into the community with few supporters or social connections.
They offer wellness services, social and rehabilitation services, employment and education services, and peer support. Peoples Oakland is an amazing organization to support, especially now when BIPOC’s mental and physical health has been minimized or overlooked by society.
Mutual Aid Hub is an organization that is helping individuals all over the country. In particular, their mission is to create a form of political participation where individuals take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions. Especially in past months with COVID-19, their focus has been helping people affected by the pandemic. Some of the work they do includes grocery shopping to help at-risk people avoid crowds, picking up medical prescriptions, sharing supplies (cleaning supplies, face masks, toilet paper, etc), providing transportation, providing housing, assisting with tasks, and even chatting on the phone with someone who is lonely. This is an excellent way to help individuals in your community who may not have access to the things they need right now.
If you check out their website, you will find a map of the United States with hundreds of their locations. In Pittsburgh, you can commonly find them in the Bloomfield, Lawrenceville, and Garfield area.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the holy grail for equality, liberation, and justice. At its core, their mission is to defend the rights each and every person in this country has by the constitution and laws of the United States. When you boil that down, they work to fight for the most pressing civil liberties issues happening now. Right now, that includes racial injustice, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on.
In terms of racial injustice, this organization works to reform policies that unfairly target people of color. They use their platform to educate and enact change on a national level.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute is dedicated to activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor, Marsha P. Johnson. As a transgender women, she was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender. She was a freedom fighter and this institute keeps her legacy alive.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of Black transgender people. They organize, advocate, and create a space of healing, education, and unity amongst their community. This organization mainly focuses on racial, gender, and reproductive justice.
The National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1937 as the first racially integrated national bar association. Then, in 1999 it was created as a nonprofit to protect those who encountered lawe enforcement. Their mission is to promote accountability of law enforcement.
Although they do not provide legal representation, they are a growing organization with over 500 members who continue to implement change in our flawed legal system. With Black, Indegenous, and people of color facing police brutality at a staggering rate, it is important to support organizations like The National Accountability Project that fights and protects their lives.
Black & Brown Founders was created by our Executive Director, Aniyia Williams, during her entrepreneurship residency with Code2040 in 2017. This organization began when Aniyia discovered the many gaps of venture funding and disparities in supporting people of color.
Less than 2% of venture capital goes to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, yet they are the driving force behind business creation in the United States. Aniyia saw this injustice and wanted to provide solutions for founders of color with limited resources. From there, Black & Brown Founders was born.
They organize national events and offer virtual training to help the BIPOC community during their early stages of development. It is an excellent service that provides legitimate help.
Although we have walked you through 8 amazing Black Lives Matter organizations to support in Pittsburgh and all over the nation, remember that there are countless others worth supporting! This is just the tip of the iceberg. I encourage everyone to research and stay informed with other organizations to support and donate to if you have the means. The racism and injustice targeted towards BIPOC is a systemic issue and an intersectionality issue. We have to remember that moving forward and continue to show support whenever and wherever possible.