a note from our editors...
Recent actions in the United States have been a reaction to years of oppression, trauma, and injustice inflicted upon the black community by those in positions of power and privilege. The protests in cities throughout the country are not only about seeking accountability for the deaths of Tony McDade and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmed Aubrey, but also the painful number of names that have come before theirs. Systemic changes are not only necessary, they are overdue. We stand with the protestors demanding these changes as well as protection of the journalists covering their efforts. We call for our community to do the same.
To start, we will be donating our submission fees collected for Volume 7 to Campaign Zero, a national collective working to limit police interventions, improve community interactions, and ensure accountability by offering comprehensive solutions to end police violence in America. Find out more here.
Silence right now is not an option for any of us. Take action now.
Protest if you feel comfortable doing so while still protecting yourself. Donate to local bailout and legal defense funds, protest aid, and committed advocacy groups. Sign petitions demanding action and accountability. Call, write, or email your local police department and assure all on-duty officers are required to turn on body-worn cameras and investigate their training polities. Contact your local representative to see what they are doing to enact change in your community. Educate yourself as much as possible through books and reputable journalism. Use your privilege to support those without it. Support black businesses, artists, and educators. Do not rely on black people to explain their pain to you. Research and inform yourself. Speak out. Do not be complacent.
You will also find a list of resources below to help you get started with some of these steps toward change. We are immensely grateful to the other publications and individuals who have been compiling these to share.
The time has come to insist on change and nothing less. We must reform the system.
The Rational Creature Editorial Team xx
If you are going to protest, make sure to wear a mask with nondescript, solid-colored clothing. Tie back your hair and cover any identifying tattoos. Write an emergency contact's name on your arm. You may also want gloves and goggles, especially if you are going to a large event. DO bring your protest signs, bottled water, cash, your ID, snacks, first aid supplies, washcloth, and earplugs. DO NOT bring anything you could get arrested with (drugs, knives), jewelry, or contact lenses. Be sure to turn your on airplane mode and/or go on airplane mode, as well as turn off your Face/Touch ID features. DO NOT share photos/videos where people's identities are visible. DO research beforehand.
A zine of important information for protestors collected by Tess Michaelson and Hannah Gold can be found here.
If you would like to donate to support protestors, a list of lawyers working Pro Bono for protestors who get arrested can be found here. A list of bailout funds broken down by state/city can be found here. Additional funds also supporting protesting efforts can be found here. Thank you to Nico for originally compiling these resources.
Write a letter to your mayor, congressperson, or other local representative asking to inquire about what action is being taken for reform in the community. Not sure what to say? A template email is available to copy and paste here. You can find your U.S. Representative here. You can find your U.S. Senators here. However, change can be most effective on a local level. Take the time to find the names and contact information for those individuals and reach out to them, as well.
Ask yourself and those around you have you can support POC in your community. Question what you have been taught about race and culture, and how you plan to help the fight to end racial discrimination and systematic oppression. Find ways to use anti-racist knowledge to change and progress conversations for people to become actively anti-racist rather than simply "not racist".
In addition to reading books about issues of race, support POC bookstores when you buy them. The African American Literature Book Club is a great resource for materials and stores. Here is a list of some...
African Bookstore (online only)
The Key Bookstore (online)
Sistah Sci-Fi (online)
Loving Me Books (online)
DTR 360 (online)
Brave + Kind Books (Decatur, GA)
Semicolon (Chicago, IL)
Brain Lair Books (South Bend, IN)
AfriWare Books (Maywood, IL)
Detroit Book City (Detroit, MI)
Mahogany Books (Washington, DC)
Uncle Bobbie's (Philadelphia, PA)
Hakim's Bookstore (Philadelphia, PA)
Harriett's Bookshop (Philadelphia, PA)
Ashay By The Bay (Bay Area, CA)
Eso Won Books (Los Angeles, CA)
The Lit. Bar (Bronx, NY)
Cafe con Libros (Brooklyn, NY)
Frugal Bookstore (Roxbury, MA)
Marcus Bookstore (Oakland, CA)
Reparations Club (Los Angeles, CA)
Malik Books (Los Angeles, CA)
Black Pearl Books (Austin, TX)
Fulton Street Books (Tulsa, OK)
Eye See Me Books (University City, MO)
We Are LIT! (Grand Rapids, MI)
The Source Bookstore (Detroit, MI)
Black Stone Bookstore (Ypsilanti, MI)
Black & Nobel (Philadelphia, PA)
Source of Knowledge (Newark, NJ)
Sister's Uptown Bookstore (Harlem, NY)
Playground Annex (Brooklyn, NY)
Sankofa Bookstore (Washington, DC)
Books and Crannies (Martinsville, VA)
Liberation Station (Durham, NC)
For Keeps Books (Atlanta, GA)
Medu Bookstore (Atlanta, GA)
44th & 3rd Bookseller (Atlanta, GA)
Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore (Nashville, TN)
Kizzy's Books & More (Winter Garden, FL)
Loyalty Books (Silver Springs, MD)
Turning Page Bookshop (Goose Creek, SC)
Wild Fig Books (Lexington, KY)
Harambee Books (Alexandria, VA)
MeJah Books (Claymont, DE)
Mocha Books (Tulsa, OK)
Nubian Bookstore (Morrow, GA)
Olive Tree Books-n-Voices (Springfield, MA)
Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing (Little Rock, AR)
Smiley's Books (Carson, CA)
Underground Books (Sacramento, CA)
Cultured Books (St. Petersburg, FL)
The Multicultural Bookstore (Richmond, CA)
Beyond Barcodes Bookstore (Kokomo, IN)
Revolution Books (New York, NY)
Willa's Books (Kansas City, MO)
Dare Books (Longwood, FL)
The Listening Tree (Decatur, GA)
Zawadi Books (Buffalo, NY)
Smith & Hannon Bookstore (Cincinnati, OH)
The Black Reserve Bookstore (Lansdale, PA)
Enda's Booktique (Duncanville, TX)
The Dock Bookshop (Fort Worth, TX)
Elizabeth's Bookshop & Writing Centre (Akron. OH)
Wisdom Book Center (Gwynn Oak, MD)
Aframerican Bookstore (Omaha, NE)
La Unique African American Books & Cultural Center (Camden, NJ)
Shelves Bookstore (Charlotte, NC)
The African Place (Memphis, TN)
Shades of Afrika (Long Beach, CA)
Best Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum (Tampa, FL)
Black Dot Cultural Center (Lithonia, GA)
All Things Inspiration Giftique (Mableton, GA)
Frontline Bookstore (Chicago, IL)
Akoma Novelties & Books (Evansville, IN)
Community Book Center (New Orleans, LA)
Everyone's Place (Baltimore, MD)
Nandi's Knowledge Cafe (Highland Park, MI)
Bliss Books & Wine (Kansas City, MO)
A Cultural Exchange (Cleveland, OH)
Alkebulan Ujamaa Book Store (Columbus, OH)
Books & Stuff (Philadelphia, PA)
The Tiny Bookstore (Ross Township, PA)
Pan-African Connection (Dallas, TX)
House of Consciousness (Norfolk, VA)
Zahra's Books and Things (Inglewood, CA)
D3 Comic Book Spot (Richmond, CA)
Expressions Books and Frames (Baltimore, MD)
Progressive Emporium & Education Center (St. Louis, MO)
Blenheim Hill Books (Hobart, NY)
Nappy Roots Books (Oklahoma City, OK)
Duende District Bookstore (Washington, DC)
Register to vote. Research your local candidates up for upcoming elections and make sure that they support policies for extensive change.
Screenshot, share, and repost resources to educate those around you. Do not center the narrative around you. Use your privilege to spread the message rather than yourself.
Beyond checking on your black friends, colleagues, and family members, make sure they have access to mental health resources right now. Here is a list of some places they can look for support...