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How to keep fighting for racial equality this fall

School is *officially* back in session. Amid the back-to-school excitement, it can be easy to forget the importance of remaining civically engaged. The fight against racial injustice, however, is more than a passing trend—it is an ongoing movement that affects the lives of millions of Americans.

You may be curious about how you can stay involved in the movement for racial equality while you're stuck in school this fall. Whether you're taking classes in person or online, there are *many* ways you can help in the fight for racial equality.

Brush up on your history

Knowledge really *is* power. Understanding the history of race relations in the United States provides context to the necessity of the Black Lives Matter movement today. It is imperative that people learn about the history of Black people in the United States—from slavery and segregation to the Civil Rights Movement and the election of the first Black president—to prevent problematic historical themes from repeating. Whether you read books, watch movies or take a class in school, understanding the history of race relations in the United States is a crucial step in the fight for racial equality. 

Stay up to date with the news  

Following the news and listening to educational speakers are two ways to remain engaged in the ongoing fight for racial justice. Staying up to date on current events is important because activism often occurs in response to events that occur in the real world. By remaining informed, people are more easily able to call for effective change in response to problematic themes present within current events. Not only does following the news allow people to educate themselves on incidents of racism, but it also informs them of what changes are being made due to the efforts of the movement for racial equality.

Get involved at school

If you are taking in-person classes this semester, school is a great place to spread awareness for causes that you are passionate about. While it may be difficult to engage in traditional forms of activism in a classroom setting, there are many ways to foster conversations about race in your school. One way to encourage productive dialogue is to ask your school's administration to integrate materials about race into the curriculum. Additionally, you can push for your school to celebrate historically Black holidays and annual observances, like Black History Month in February. While it may feel intimidating to forge these conversations with your administration, learning about Black history can help students expand their world view and become engaged the movement for racial equality.

Don't be afraid to speak up

One of the best ways to combat racism is by holding those in your social circle accountable for racist remarks and microaggressions. By telling your friend that their racist joke was neither funny nor okay, you are making a difference—no matter how small. If you see a peer being harassed because of their race, speak up. If you don't feel comfortable confronting the aggressor, confide in a trusted adult who can take steps to correct the behavior. Educating your peers on the importance of fighting for racial equality is just one way you can cultivate a culture of allyship in your social circle. Although these acts may seem insignificant, if you can convince one person to see the error in their ways—that is change.

Use social media 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, activists have had to develop organizing tactics that allow individuals to be involved from afar. While it is easy to assume that activism begins and ends with protesting, there are many ways to remain involved from the comfort of your own home. Whether you write blog posts, post on social media or make a GoFundMe, using digital platofrms  is an effective way to raise awareness of the movement. This generation has access to organizing tools that our grandparents could only dream of—and it is important for us to use them to our advantage. Like the saying goes, "With great power comes great responsibility."

However you decide to fight for racial equality, know that using your voice to stand up for what you believe in *will* make a difference. You got this, girl!

Slider Image: Diego G. Diaz / Shutterstock.com

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by Katherine Brown and Claire Hutto | 10/20/2020
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