Racism in America is anything but dead. Police shootings of Black people are still extremely common, inequality within the workforce still exists, and prejudice in the government is deeply embedded.
Color of Change is pushing to change this inequality and do something real about injustice. As an organization, they design campaigns in order to end the injustice against Black people and utilize solutions to move the entire country forward.
Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. With more than one million members, this organization moves “decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.”
One of their successful campaigns was pushing Fox to cancel the show COPS in 2013. For those unaware, this show is an undeniably racist and distorted view of the Black community. It shows the cops (usually White) as “heroes” and the suspects (usually Black) as guilty. Although cops are typically seen as heroes in mainstream movies and TV shows, let’s not forget the history behind the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. This history began before slavery, during slavery, into segregation, and continues today. The systemic racism is hinged within the system, and it isn’t coming undone.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement is a modern day example of how the Black community is fighting injustices in America. When people say “Black Lives Matter,” they don’t mean that other lives don’t. Instead, it is meant to shed light on the long history of injustice and brutality that the Black community has endured, and continues to endure. There wouldn’t be a movement if it weren’t for a reason. The issue with the “Blue Lives Matter” movement is not whether or not their lives matter (because they do); it is because the movement came in response to Black Lives Matter. Instead of facing the reality that is police brutality, a counter-movement was created to hide from the truth.
The same goes for the hashtag #AllLivesMatter in response to #BlackLivesMatter. We all want to believe that all lives matter, but reality says differently. Saying ‘all lives matter’ invalidates the concerns of Black people and inaccurately suggests that all people are in equal danger. #BlackLivesMatter exists because all lives truly don’t matter because, if they did, there wouldn’t be a discussion about Black lives. Period.
But Color of Change doesn’t just focus on inequality within the criminal justice system. They also focus their campaigns around economic justice, media justice, and building power and voice.
- When this organization discusses injustices within the economy, they are referring to discriminatory workplace practices, inaccurate portrayals in the media, and cuts to infrastructure and investments within communities. This country places barriers in front of the Black community, making them work harder for less.
- Justice within the media means creating a more diverse and fair media landscape by fighting against the inaccurate and dehumanizing portrayals of Black people.
- Building power and voice for Black individuals and the community as a whole is essential to achieving justice. To strengthen the way they are heard, the Black community can fight against their injustice.
One of their current campaigns is advocating for Colin Kaepernick and his American right to kneel during the National Anthem. The “Kneeling with Colin Kaepernick” campaign supports his fight against the injustices that Black people face in this country. The U.S. Constitution insists that all citizens are created equal and that it is the government’s job to ensure everyone has the same opportunities and rights. When the government fails in this area, it is up to the citizen to remind them of their duty. Kaepernick is reminding the government that they have a duty to end the police brutality against Black citizens.
For those that disagree with his statement, do not forget the history of this country. Arguments made against Kaepernick tend to revolve around one main point – it is disrespectful to the military personnel who have fought (and continue to fight) for this country. To address this grievance, those individuals are fighting for the very freedom that Kaepernick is expressing. And, not to mention, the thousands of Black people who were promised freedom if they fought in the Civil War were not given that freedom when they returned. Everyone’s experience as an American citizen is different and everyone’s views about patriotism are different. What is unpatriotic is not Kaepernick himself, but the thousands of Americans that criticize him for using his First Amendment right to bring awareness to this ongoing discrimination.
Amid the start of this controversy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a Washington Post article:
“What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities. Failure to fix this problem is what’s really un-American here.”
It is not un-American for Kaepernick to use his platform to raise awareness to the extreme inequality that Black people (and many other marginalized groups) face in this country.
The team at Color of Change is pushing to end injustice and create a world that is equitable for all. But they can’t do it without your help! Visit their page to donate or to start a campaign of your own – they give access to important tools needed to lead a campaign in your community. These campaigns must revolve around issues impacting Black people and they must have a goal to strengthen Black political power.
Take 7 minutes to watch a video overview of Color of Change and the power they have to change the lives of the Black community.