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October 19, 2020

Resources to support social justice, freedom of the press — and ways to learn about racism and its history

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Nationwide protests against racism and police brutality have raged for more than a week now, sparked by the May 25 murder of George Floyd while in police custody.

In Austin, we’re entering our sixth day of protests, with people seeking justice not only for Floyd and others, but also for 42-year-old Michael Ramos who was fatally shot by Austin police in April.

Amid the protests, there have been more than 150 assaults on journalists nationwide by the police and others, documented by U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

With many wondering what we can do to support the anti-racist initiatives and organizations, support freedom of the press, and learn more about racism and its history, we’ve compiled a starter list of resources.

You can donate to Austin area organizations working for social justice including Austin Justice Coalition, and the Austin chapters of the NAACP, the Urban League and Black Lives Matter.



We are horrified by the violent actions of police against journalists doing their jobs during the recent protests and demonstrations. Sightlines was founded on the professional ethics and principles of the Society of Professional Journalists and is dedicated to freedom of the press. We give you links below to support our fellow journalists during this important time.

Now is the time for white people to listen and learn. Towards that we offer some resources to begin learning about African American history and culture in Austin, and the systematic racism that is a part of the city’s legacy.

Though it is currently closed to the public, the Austin History Center has many online resources, projects and exhibitions about the city’s African American history. And you can support organizations such as Six Square and the Carver Museum that are actively preserving Austin’s Black culture.

Finally, we offer some reading lists to get you started on understanding the racism faced by Black communities in the United States, and on bettering your practice as an ally.

Social and Racial Justice

  • Austin Justice Coalition
    The coalition seeks to educate and build community power for people of color who live in Austin that need support, community, and liberation during a time of systemic injustice in America.
    austinjustice.org/donate/
  • Austin Area Urban League
    The Austin chapter of the National Urban League enables African Americans and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights, and to provide tools for them to build a foundation for social and economic equality.
    aaul.org/donate-austin
  • Black Lives Matter Austin
    Donate directly to fund the Black Lives Matter movement here or reach out to Black Lives Matter Austin to contribute to local initiatives. 
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Austin
    The Austin chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  the political,
    naacpaustin.com/membership-and-donations.html

Journalism & Press Freedom

  • Committee to Protect Journalists
    The Committee to Protect Journalists is a global nonprofit committed to protecting the freedom of the press. Currently, CPJ is helping journalists who are being targeted while covering protests across the nation.
    cpj.org
  • National Association of Black Journalists
    The nation’s largest group for journalists of color, the National Association of Black Journalists supports diversity in newsrooms and media publications.
    nabj.org

Black Culture & History

  • Six Square
    Preserves the legacy of African Americans in Central East Austin and in the overall quality of life for Black residents in Austin. Six Square is named for the six square miles originally created in 1928 as the “Negro District” by the Austin City Council in a master plan designed to enforce segregation by forcing resettlement of the African American population into a designated district to the east of the city’s center.
    sixsquare.org
  • Austin History Center’s African American Community Archivist
    The center’s African American Community Archivist actively seeks out archival materials from the African American community in Austin and Travis County. Online resources about African Americans in Austin include online exhibitions and the 127-page African American Resource Guide. Take the African American History in Austin Quiz to start learning.
    library.austintexas.gov/ahc/african-american-community-archivist
  • Austin’s History: Gentrification A list put together by the Austin History Center of its holdings of city reports, ordinances, research studies and archival collections that provide a historic perspective on gentrification.
    austin.bibliocommons.com/list/share/603054998/1227213127

Reading lists


Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzinhttps://sightlinesmag.org
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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