Protest requires a variety of people in many different roles in order to be effective. There are the people on the ground, of course, the ones you see in photos. And then there is the behind the scenes support: supplies, jail support, and monetary backing. In order for direct action to succeed and be sustainable, all those pieces need to be in place. For people who cannot be on the ground, donating money to a bail fund is a tangible way to support protesters. And thanks to a Twitter trend, thousands of people have done just that for the folks in Minneapolis protesting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
A Twitter trend where people “match” donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund has gone viral, with over 27,000 tweets mentioning the organization as of Thursday afternoon and celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeting the link to his 3 million followers (disclosure: I participated in the “match” chain). As a result, the organization has received an influx of donations to help pay bail for folks who get arrested during the protests. The organization has been overwhelmed with donations and has asked folks to donate to other local organizations, as well, namely Reclaim the Block and Black Visions Collective.
— Isaac Fitzgerald🤞🏻🖤 (@IsaacFitzgerald) May 28, 2020
non-black people instead of retweeting photos of literal murder we can instead donate to places like the Minnesota Freedom Fund to support the protestors, I did it last night it was very easy https://t.co/9kFmJTDq1f https://t.co/bqVVoZJYom pic.twitter.com/LiorYmTrR1
— alyssa, from 6ft away, (@alyssakeiko) May 28, 2020
Providing monetary support for protestors on the ground is also a way that non-Black people can show up for Black liberation. Wealth redistribution can also be seen as a form of reparations for Black Americans. Donating money is a way that white folks can channel their performative outrage into concrete action: literally putting their money where their mouth is.
But bailing out protestors is not the only work the Minnesota Freedom Fund does. They are part of a larger movement to end cash bail in the United States (currently the U.S. and the Philippines are the only two countries in the world that use the system), which disproportionately impacts low-income people of color and their families. The fight against cash bail has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic, as incarcerated people are at increased risk of contracting the disease and activists have pushed to release as many people as possible.
“There is a LOT happening – inc[lunding] so much support from y’all, we can’t keep up,” the organization tweeted on Wednesday. “Will update as we can but things on the ground are changing fast. Thank you we see you and LOVE that everyone is stepping up their game and political analysis. Remember, MFF is thousands of everyday people supporting liberation and justice movements.”
You can donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.
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