Resources for Racial Justice in the Hudson Valley | Community Notebook | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Resources for Racial Justice in the Hudson Valley 

9 Ways to Get Educated and Get Involved Locally

click to enlarge The June 3 protest in Kingston. - PHOTO BY CHRIS RAHM
  • Photo by Chris Rahm
  • The June 3 protest in Kingston.

As the nation reels from the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a growing list of Black victims of police brutality, people are searching for a way to channel their rage and sadness into action. We have compiled a list of ways to support the racial justice movement in the Hudson Valley, from backing local advocacy groups to marching to educating yourself.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but we will continue to add to it and we encourage you to drop other organizations and resources in the comments below.

Support Local Organizations

These local grassroots organizations are leading the charge on social justice advocacy in the Hudson Valley. Donate to them, follow them on social, share their posts, amplify their message, and get involved with their activities.

Rise Up Kingston is a community nonprofit whose work focuses on opposing systemic racism and oppression. On Instagram at: @riseupkingston

A.J Williams-Myers African Roots Library in Kingston is dedicated to teaching about the African roots experience, including history, culture, and literature. On Instagram at: @ajwilliamsmeyers.archive

North Star Fund provides grants to grassroots social justice organizations in the Hudson Valley and New York City to empower communities fighting for racial equality. On Instagram at: @northstarfund

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson supports marginalized groups to campaign against structures of oppression and inequality, working in areas like including immigration justice, civic engagement, and utility justice. On Instagram at: @nobodyleavesmidhuson

Citizen Action NY tackles a broad spectrum of issues aimed at transforming society and improving the quality of life for everyone, ranging from racial justice to affordable housing, the end of mass incarceration, and fair elections. On Instagram at: @citizenactionny

BLM Hudson Valley is the local chapter of the Black Lives Matter Movement. On Instagram at: @blmhudsonvalley

Kingston Midtown Rising is an inclusive community organization aimed at improving the quality of life for Kingston residents and advocating for educational, economic, and affordable housing opportunities for people across races and classes. On Instagram at: @midtownrising

End the New Jim Crow Action Network! (ENJAN) is dedicated to fighting racial discrimination in the criminal justice system and end mass incarceration, which disproportionately affects Blacks and Hispanics. On Instagram at: @enjanpok

Northern Dutchess NAACP is the local chapter of the country’s oldest civil rights organization fighting for social justice, equal opportunity, and voter mobilization in the region.

Center for Creative Education
in Kingston offers arts, wellness,, and educational programming to low-income, BIPOC, and at-risk kids and teens in the area.

Family of Woodstock offers a range of community services from shelters and food pantries to domestic violence services, case management, and counseling. They also advocate for a wide range of issues including juvenile justice reform. On Instagram at: @familyofwoodstock

Attend Local Upcoming Protests

click to enlarge The June 3 protest in Kingston. - PHOTO BY CHRIS RAHM
  • Photo by Chris Rahm
  • The June 3 protest in Kingston.

This list of upcoming marches and protests is not exhaustive, but we will strive to keeping it up-to-date. We have included links where we could find them.

Port Jervis, June 10 @10am
Saugerties, June 11 @5pm (Cantine Parking Lot)
Chatham, June 13, @5:30pm
Kingston, Wednesday Walks 4 Black Lives, 6/17 recurring every other week (Academy Green)

Support Black-Owned Businesses

Another way to show your solidarity for Black neighbors is by patronizing their businesses. Our list of Black-owned businesses in the Hudson Valley is far from comprehensive but still growing. Put your money where your mouth is.

Advocate for the Repeal of 50-A

New York State currently hides the personnel records of police officers, firefighters and corrections officers from the public under 50-A, a section of the New York Civil Rights Law. Full transparency into the conduct and disciplinary processes of the police force is an essential part of addressing the systemic abuse and lack of accountability. 50-A is up for review under the 2020 Legislative Agenda. Write to your State Senator and State Assemblymember to encourage them to repeal 50-A and pass the Police Statistics & Transparency (STAT) act.

At the local level, Rise Up Kingston has proposed police accountability legislation for the city, backed by the NYCLU. People can email Mayor Noble to encourage him to adopt their legislation rather than drafting new legislation behind closed doors, or call his office at (845) 334-3902. You can also sign Rise Up Kingston's petition.

Sign Petitions

Signing petitions is a free and easy form of advocacy that takes up very little time. By adding your name to petitions, you have the ability to demonstrate public support for the Black Lives Matter movement and apply pressure for the demanding cause with the click of a button.

Text “JUSTICE” To 668366 and text “FLOYD” To 55156 to receive a petition to demand justice for George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by police officer, Derek Chauvin, after being accused of writing a bad check.

Sign this petition to demand that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot 8 times while she was sleeping in her house by police who claimed to have raided the wrong house, are fired and brought to justice. You can also text “ENOUGH” To 55156 to receive a petition to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.

Sign this petition to demand support and attention for Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was taking a morning jog when he was cornered, shot, and killed by former police officer, Gregory McMichael and his son, both of whom are white, in what Arbery’s family is calling a modernday lynching.

Vote Locally and Nationally

The New York Primary is June 23. Primary elections for Congress, State Assembly, State Senate, District Leader, and President are the elections being held. Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order stating that all eligible voters are encouraged to apply for an absentee ballot to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must apply for an absentee ballot by June 16. When you apply for an absentee ballot, you can check the box “Temporary Illness” as your reason for applying, even if you are not ill, as the definition has been temporarily expanded due to COVID-19. If you aren’t already registered to vote, find your next steps here.

Advocacy for College Students

If you’re currently attending college, plan your future semesters to educate yourself about race and class issues, black culture, and history. Enroll in Black Studies courses, African American literature classes, and other disciplines that place the focus on the history and contributions of people of color. Send emails to the Provost of your college demanding funding (or increased funding) for Black Studies. When on-campus classes resume, join clubs and organizations Black and Brown student advocacy and attend events.

Use Social Media to Spread Information

There is currently a plethora of information being shared around the internet: places to donate, petitions to sign, numbers and emails of legislators, police departments, etc, and by choosing to share this information with the people around you, you are providing access to important resources and bringing awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement to your community. If you choose to share commentary on the situation, prioritize sharing Black voices.

Educate Yourself

The below are some books, podcasts, films, and social media accounts that you can engage with to educate yourself on becoming an anti-racist.

Films & Series

Thirteen is a documentary on Netflix that talks about racial injustice in the American police system and prison system
American Son is a Broadway play-turned-film about police brutality
If Beale Street Could Talk is a 2018 film adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.
"When They See Us" is a Netflix series on the Central Park Five.
"Dear White People" is a Netflix series set on a fictional Ivy League campus and deals with issues ranging from microaggressions to colorism and outright racism.

Podcasts

Vanity Fair recently rounded up a list of "nine podcasts that demand your attention this week," spanning the gamut from politics to comedy, all showcasing Black voices offering commentary and analysis on the Black experience, daily news, and culture. A couple other podcasts of note are "1619,” the New York Times-produced show on slavery, the inseparability of American history and Black history, and the contribution of Black people in the formation all of our most cherished national assets from Medicare to music, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones; and Crooked's "Pod Save the People," in which host and activist DeRay Mckesson discusses current events, politics, social justice, and culture with fellow organizers and guests.

Books

If you are buying books, try to buy locally and support the independent bookstores in your area, specifically Black-owned bookstores, rather than corporate businesses. Blackline has an excellent black empowerment reading list broken out by age group. A couple of other titles not on the list but worth mentioning are White Tears/Black Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad and This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell.

Non-Local Social Media Accounts to Follow

Diversify your feed, listen to other voices, broaden your information sources. The below accounts are just a few of many on the national level, but they are a great place to start:

@NAACP
@colorofchange
@theconsciouskid
@blackwomensblueprint
@ckyourprivilege
@ACLU_nationwide
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