CP photo: Jordan Snowden
A sticker Downtown
You might feel like things are spiraling out of control and that there is nothing you can do about it, but there is always something. If you find yourself watching the protests on TV and scrolling helplessly through shocking Tweets, try donating to one of these local organizations. It's fast, it's easy, and it makes a difference.
Bukit Bail Fund
Bukit Bail Fund is a coalition that provides financial support to those incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail. It's named for Frank "Bukit" Smart Jr., who died after jail staff placed restraints on him while he was having a seizure. Bail funds ensure that people aren’t stuck in jail for a long time just because they can't afford to leave.
Mental Health advocacy organization Steel Smiling provides education, community support, and resources on how people and organizations can handle mental health issues. Founder Julius Boatwright posted on social media that Steel Smiling can help financially support to Black Pittsburghers in need of therapy. The organization accepts donations to help with emergency financial support.
ACLU of Pennsylvania
The ACLU is dedicated to defending infringement on personal freedom, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and other issues that are relevant while protesting police brutality. It's a great resource to have in your pocket, literally. If you do go do a protest, it's never a bad idea to have the contact info for the ACLU written on a piece of paper in your pocket.
Black Business Relief Fund
Created by Cocoapreneur, a resource for Black-owned businesses, the relief fund helps Black businesses that may have been damaged during protests. "Despite the destruction not coming from Pittsburgh locals, we will help our Black businesses become whole again," states the description of the fund. They have a fundraising goal of $100,000 and have so far raised around $13,000.
Dignity Act Now Collective
The organization, which describes itself as "a collective of Black Womxn, trans and nonbinary people impacted by mass incarceration," started a GoFundMe in April, to help post bail, release incarcerated people, and provided mentorship after people are released. The fundraiser has currently raised half of its $15,000 goal.
The art and activist collective provides an outlet and resources for Pittsburghers of all changes to make change. They have been active participants in many of the recent protests, including helping with a teen-led sit-in at Bakery Square
. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have also lead virtual discussions about how the disease affects the Black community.
June is Pride Month, and trans and non-binary people are especially vulnerable to both police violence and COVID-19. SisTers offers clothing, housing, education, and other resources for trans and non-binary people, and recently launched BroThers
, a program geared specifically at trans men.