How Penn State Students Can Advocate Against Racial Inequality, Police Brutality

Recently, Penn State students, administrators, athletes, and student government officials have spoken out against recent acts of racially motivated violence and prejudice. In doing so, they’ve urged community members not to stay silent during these times and instead use their voices to create positive change.

Countless protests have erupted following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died in police custody last week. Members of the State College community gathered over the weekend to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

As more Penn Staters search for ways to get involved, consider utilizing the local and national resources below to help advocate for change.

Where To Donate

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Currently, the George Floyd Memorial Fund is the only legitimate GoFundMe page directly benefiting Floyd’s family. Organized by his sister, Philonise, the fund has raised nearly $10 million so far. The fundraiser seeks to cover funeral costs, legal proceedings, and aid his family.

Penn State Greek Life Fundraiser

Penn State’s Panhellenic, IFC, NPHC, and MGC Greek Councils are organizing a fundraiser of their own to raise money for Floyd’s family. At the time of writing, this fundraiser has raised more than $1,100 and has set a goal to raise $5,000.

National Bail Out

National Bail Out is an organization working to end mass incarceration. For those looking to support bailout fundraisers closer to home, click here to find one near you.

Osaze Olufemi Osagie Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship Fund honors a State College native who was killed by police in March of 2019. It was established in Osagie’s name to assist students with mental health issues.

Black Lives Matter:

Those looking for ways to get involved with these movements can also donate directly to the Black Lives Matter organization. In doing so, their contributions will help liberate blacks and provide those in need with the resources necessary to create actual change in their communities.

YouTube Stream To Benefit Black Lives Matter

Advertisement revenue from this hour-long YouTube video is donated to help pay for the funerals of police brutality victims, protestor bail funds, and more. All revenue generated will benefit those in need.

Petitions To Sign:

Justice For Floyd

There are many petitions circling around demanding justice for George Floyd and seeking murder charges for all the police officers involved in his death. This Color of Change petition currently has more than four million signatures, while this petition has more than 11 million.

Hands Up Act Petition

This petition aims to catch the attention of United States legislators and calls on them to create policies and stricter punishments for police officers engaging in acts of police brutality. The petition, created by a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, currently has more than 1 million signatures.

Text Petitions

Those looking for another way to get involved can text FLOYD to 55156, ENOUGH to 55156, JUSTICE to 55156, or TONY MCDADE to 484848. The FLOYD, ENOUGH, and TONY MCDADE texts will bring members to petitions demanding justice for those like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade who lost their lives to police brutality.

Justice For Breonna Taylor:

This petition is seeking charges against the police officers involved in the wrongful killing of Breonna Taylor. It is also asking for the Taylor family to get paid in damages due to the circumstances surrounding Taylor’s wrongful death.

Justice For Ahmaud Arbery:

By signing this petition, people can contribute to looking for justice and raising awareness for Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery, who was shot and killed while jogging in his neighborhood two months ago, only recently had charges brought against the men who killed him.

Other Ways To Get Involved

3/20 Coalition

The 3/20 Coalition is a group local to State College that formed following the death of Osaze Osagie. Although it wasn’t directly involved with the organization of the recent protests in State College, the coalition provides an easy way for students to advocate at Penn State.

The coalition recently sent out this interest form for new members interested in joining, fighting for justice, and demanding police accountability. The coalition plans to share more opportunities and events that those near State College can get involved in soon.

Share Social Media Posts

One of the quickest and easiest ways that students can get involved is through checking and sharing the thousands of different social media posts and hashtags currently circulating across various outlets. Through these avenues, people can find more local protests and groups to join.

Google Maps Protest Locator

This protest locator is a very resourceful tool that helps those looking for a way to get involved find protests and rallies close to home.

Educational Resources

Sometimes, one of the best ways to get involved is by educating yourself and having critical, informative, and productive conversations with those around you.

For those hoping to learn more about legislation regarding issues of police brutality and racial injustice, this Twitter thread provides a summary of legislation either proposed or passed in various states across the United States.

This next Twitter thread, which has already been shared thousands of times, is being used to share documentaries that educate viewers about racism and prejudice.

This Google Drive link shares numerous books by black activists, many in PDF forms, so those hoping to further their education on these topics can do so from their own homes.

An open Yale course is also available to the public that teaches about African-American history. More information about the course and downloading course resources can be found here.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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