George Floyd protests: How you can support Tampa Bay’s black community from home

Whether you’re protesting or staying inside, here are ways to educate yourself and support black-owned businesses.
Protesters take to the streets of St. Petersburg Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Protesters take to the streets of St. Petersburg Saturday, May 30, 2020. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published June 4, 2020|Updated June 22, 2020

You’ve read articles and watched videos of protests erupting across the country after the death of George Floyd. Maybe you’ve been out on the streets marching for days. Maybe you’re staying inside due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you are hashtagging on social media, you need to also go out and do something as well that will change the conversation," said Hillary Van Dyke, co-founder of black business directory Green Book of Tampa Bay. "Because we keep coming back to this every few years.”

Van Dyke and community organizers suggest these ways to support racial equality and be an ally to the local African-American community.

If you have five minutes...

Become a member of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group. To find the chapter closest to you or donate, visit Donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on achieving racial justice, here.

Send a message to your congressional representatives.The NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying movement is seeking reform in criminal justice, healthcare and voting policy. Learn about the issues, find your representative and send a message here.

Get connected with local organizations on social media:

  • Support the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum. Named after the father of Black History Month, the Woodson museum focuses on the history of African Americans in the St. Petersburg community. It is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can follow along on social media for updates, make a donation or sign up to volunteer.
  • Foundation for Healthy St Pete works to address end health disparities due to social or structural disadvantages. Subscribe to their newsletter.
  • Deuces Live focuses on revitalization of the Historic 22nd Street South corridor in St. Petersburg. Learn about local black businesses, community volunteer opportunities and upcoming events on their Facebook page.
  • Community Development and Training Center is a Pinellas nonprofit that provides resources, organizational training and outreach in St. Petersburg. Follow them on Facebook or donate to help their South St. Pete Community Response COVID-19 coalition on their website.

Sign Color of Change’s petition for police reform by texting DEMANDS to 55156. Over four million people signed Color of Change’s petition demanding action from Minneapolis’s mayor, county attorney and attorney general after George Floyd was killed in police custody. Since the petition’s launch, Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with second degree murder. The three other officers present were arrested Wednesday after mounting pressure from protesters around the country. Color of Change is now trying to gain support for its demands to change policing.

Donate to community bail funds to free protesters who have been jailed while speaking out against racism. Organizations that help Florida protesters include the Florida Bail Fund at the Florida Justice Center and The Freedom Fund, which focuses on LGBTQ people. You can also split a donation between community bail funds across the country.

Get ready for Election Day. Register to vote, request an absentee ballot and set up election reminders here.

If you have a few hours...

Watch 13th, Ava DuVernay’s documentary about how America’s record of racial inequality led to mass incarceration. Netflix posted the film on YouTube for free.

Browse the Florida Holocaust Museum’s online collection to learn about human rights. The museum pivoted to a digital format during the coronavirus pandemic, offering free virtual tours of its permanent exhibition as well as programs like “Zoom with a Survivor."

Spend time reviewing anti-racism resources. Here are 75 things people can do to promote racial justice, including contacting local representatives. Additionally, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg shared a Google doc filled with suggestions of educational books, podcasts, articles. It includes a guide to help parents talk to their children about social justice.

Since its inception, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has listened to the community about the health impact...

Posted by Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Read anti-racist books and articles. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race and Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race are popular choices. Katie Couric posted a long list featuring books and articles for adults and children alike.

Stroll along the African-American Heritage Walking Trail and learn about the history of south St. Pete neighborhoods like the Deuces. Here’s a map. Scheduled tours are paused due to coronavirus, but you can get updates on future events here.

If you can set aside time each week...

Read The Weekly Challenger Newspaper, covering African-American news and history in Tampa Bay. Subscribe to their newsletter here.

Make a habit of supporting locally black-owned businesses on a regular basis. Green Book of Tampa Bay is a community database dedicated to “helping you put your green in black.” Co-founder Hillary Van Dyke encourages people to be intentional with their money.

Inequality is the root of many problems in America, keeping black people at the bottom of every system, Van Dyke said. “I think that’s the biggest issue is the lack of intentionality,” she said. “This is a way to help with economic vitality in the community.”

I Love the Burg posted a running list of their favorite black-owned businesses featured on Green Book of Tampa Bay, including restaurants, boutiques, nonprofits and health and beauty services.

Take Yale’s free course, “African American History: From Emancipation to the Present. Learn about the African American experience in the United States, from the end of the Civil war to the modern civil rights movement. The entire course is available online.