Now that we are out of the house – at least for the moment – you might be looking for some things to do. Lots of activist and advocacy groups in Greenville need your help from donating, to subscribing, to volunteering. This is just a partial list and we will keep adding to it. Compiled by Nagiah Ferrell.
Black Lives Matter
Mission: ”Black LivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. It is now a global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
Why they do it: The Black Lives Matter Movement promotes racial equality through education and social activism, and pushes for Black voices to be heard in addition to helping the over policing of black neighborhood
How to get involved: Connect with the Upstate Black Lives Matter Facebook page to see all of their upcoming events and workshops.
Mission: Mission: “Freedom Fighters Upstate SC is a volunteer that consists of dedicated individuals who have joined together to promote peace, unity and justice for all on both a local and national level. Founded by Traci Fant, the organization’s name was chosen due to the fact that Traci was given the nickname ‘Freedom Fighter” by civil rights leader, former presidential candidate, and Greenville native Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
Why we do it: Founder Traci Fant explains: “We saw a need in the community and wanted to meet that need.” In addition to helping the community Traci pointed out that in order to see change the Freedom Fighters want to be a “committed constant in the community”.
How we do it: The organization’s primary goal is to create a “safer, more powerful community.” Projects include employment assistance, promoting unity within the community and working to attain justice for those “who suffer injustices in our community,” working to end police brutality, and promoting equal rights for all people.
How to get involved: Sign up for emails from Freedom Fighters on their website. You can also sign up to volunteer and get information about upcoming events and meetings.
Mission: “Our organization is nonpartisan and is a faithful advocate for diversity, equality, acceptance, and understanding. Our network advocates particularly for those who have left their countries behind – as well as their families, friends, and culture – to pursue better opportunities for their children, just like previous generations did. Our mission is, ultimately, about embracing the American dream.”
Why we do it: The Hispanic Alliance strives to be a bridge to other organizations to eliminate barriers.
How we do it: The Hispanic Alliance builds community teams that work to connect people with resources, education, and opportunities to advocate for their rights. As well as building the Hispanic Alliance Network, which is a network of people within and around the Hispanic community, they focus on serving the most vulnerable among us, nurturing each other, and welcoming the entire Upstate community.
How to get involved: Contact the Hispanic Alliance through their website. There you can get information on current issues and help on how to reach the appropriate elected officials. You can sign up to volunteer, or donate to support the organization’s work. Current major advocacy efforts center around protecting the futures for Dreamers, standing with the Black community and Black Lives Matter to fight against racism, and increasing awareness of immigration rights particularly at the Southern US border.
Moms Demand Action
Mission: Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement that works across the country to fight for public safety measures and stronger gun laws to protect people from gun violence. They advocate in state legislatures and Congress and work to close the loopholes that allow uncontrolled gun violence to flourish in the US.
Why we do it: To make America safe with gun safety laws that protect everyone.
How we do it: Moms Demand Action works to achieve its goal in a number of ways including researching gun violence in our society, providing educational materials and information to help individuals advocate, training volunteers, and working actively in state legislatures to follow legislation, provide actionable information to members, and to aggressively advocate for gun safety and security.
How to get involved: There are several chapters active in the Upstate but you can connect with the Upstate group through Facebook. The national organization’s website has research papers and advocacy information, as well as the opportunity to donate and support the organization’s work.
You don’t have to be part of an organization to work for gun safety. Contact Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott and tell them you want to see the Background Check Completion Act passed in this session. It’s S.591 and will close the Charleston loophole that allowed Dylan Roof to purchase a handgun without a completed background check. Roof went on to kill nine parishoners in a prayer group at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.
Mission: To improve the quality of life for all LGBTQ+ individuals in the Upstate.
How we do it: Pride Link offers community-based programs and services to address the health, wellness and access needs of LGBTQ+ people through online connections and a Mobile Community Center. The MCC brings social and medical services to LGBTQ+ individuals throughout the 10 counties of the Upstate. In addition to providing health services such as HIV and mental health screenings, the Mobile Community Center brings social support and connections.
How to get involved: Pride Link is actively looking for volunteers. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for up to date information, and share it with your network. Donations can be made on their website.
Women’s Rights Empowerment Network (WREN)
Mission: “WREN, the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, is a South Carolina-based network whose mission is to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.”
How they do it: WREN advocates for policies and laws that will improve the status of women and girls – socially, medically, and in the workplace. WREN builds connections with communities, advocates and organizations to maximize its impact on important legislation in Columbia, and locally across the state.
How to get involved: You can be involved in many ways. Help WREN continue its work by becoming a donor. But you can get more involved by learning about their issues (the WREN website is a trove of information, white papers, presentations and other documents on women’s issues), volunteering with the organization, signup for their email list and become an active advocate.