7 ways Austin-area residents can promote racial equity through volunteering, donation efforts

William Nzoiwu protests police brutality against the black community. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
William Nzoiwu protests police brutality against the black community. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)

William Nzoiwu protests police brutality against the black community. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and Michael Ramos’ in Austin, in-person protests and virtual vigils are being held.

From volunteering and donation opportunities to filing civil rights complaints, here are seven ways residents in the Austin metro can get involved. This list is not comprehensive.

  1. American Civil Liberties Union of Texas

    The ACLU of Texas offers volunteer opportunities in the realms of LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights, immigrant rights, voting rights and smart justice. Smart justice refers to the ACLU's campaign to reduce prison and jail incarcerations, as well as tackle racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

    The ACLU of Texas also provides opportunities for people to become legal observers, or to observe protests and demonstrations and take record of how law enforcement interacts with protesters. The ACLU is currently using legal observers at Black Lives Matter protests and rallies throughout Texas.

    Volunteer


    For more information about volunteer opportunities, click here. The ACLU’s Austin branch does not have a physical location but can be reached by phone at 512-478-7300 or by email at acluinfo@aclutx.org.

    Donate

    Alongside its volunteering and legal observer opportunities, the ACLU also accepts donations to its organization. To learn more about the organization and to donate, click here.

  2. Austin Justice Coalition

    AJC is a community-led organization that works toward establishing economic and racial equity for people of color in Austin. Its central focus areas are education, policing, civil engagement and community building.

    Volunteer

    Volunteer opportunities include involvement in AJC’s mentorship programs, policy team, canvassing initiatives, Project Orange and Tools for Change. Project Orange works with eligible inmates and assists them with registering to vote, while Tools for Change provides resources and roundtable discussions for addressing the state of the justice system.

    For more information about volunteer opportunities, click here. The AJC is located at 1603 E. 38th ½ St., Austin, and can be reached by email at info@austinjustice.org.

    Donate

    In addition to its volunteering efforts, the AJC accepts one-time and recurring donations. For more information, click here.

  3. Black Pflugerville

    Black Pflugerville is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for inclusion and civic engagement in Pflugerville. The nonprofit works to promote and encourage an informed and active participation of black residents and other under-represented members of the city, per its mission statement.

    Nonprofit focuses include the restoration of Pflugerville’s Historic Colored Addition cemetery, student advocacy, health, justice and policy-based initiatives.

    Volunteer

    Volunteer efforts include cleanups of Pflugerville’s Historic Colored Addition Cemetery, as well as additional community workshops and outreach initiatives. For upcoming events, Black Pflugerville will host an “in remembrance” march June 6 in memory of those lost to police brutality, as well as a peaceful meditation protest at Lake Pflugerville on June 9.

    Donate

    To donate to Black Pflugerville, click here. For more information about the organization and how to get involved, call 512-730-0885 or email blackpflugerville@gmail.com.

  4. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: Austin Branch

    The NAACP is an organization focused on the political, economic, social and educational equality for all and the erasure of race-based discrimination. Key objectives include the elimination of systems that promote racial discrimination through democratic processes, the education of the negative effects caused by race-based discrimination and the enforcement of civil rights protections in local, state and federal laws.

    Volunteer

    The nonprofit has a monthly branch meeting planned for 6 p.m. June 23 at 1709 E. 12th St., Austin.

    Donate

    For information on membership opportunities and donations, click here. NAACP Austin can be contacted by phone at 512-476-6230 or by filling out an email form here.

  5. Texas Civil Rights Project

    The TCRP is an organization led by Texas lawyers and advocates from Texas communities that serve to support equality and justice in and beyond courtrooms. The three concentrations of TCRP, per its mission statement, are criminal justice reform, racial and economic justice, and voting rights in Texas.

    Volunteer

    Interested volunteers can participate in one of TCRP’s campaign initiatives, become a legal fellow, join as a law clerk or become a part of TCRP’s pro bono network. For more information about volunteer opportunities, click here.

    Donate

    For those interested in donating to the TCRP, click here. For more information on the organization, the TCRP can be reached at 512-474-5073 or by email at info@texascivilrightsproject.org.


Support local businesses

Texas Black Pages

The TBP is an online directory platform that links viewers to black-owned businesses and organizations. Per its mission statement, the platform is designed to assist with visibility and credibility, while also bridging any potential gaps between prospective customers and businesses.

The TBP offers a range of plans for interested businesses, including free and paid options. The information is submitted by business owners, with varying amounts of information and promotional materials provided depending on the service plan. For more information, click here.

File civil rights complaints

Austin’s office of police oversight was created in November 2018 to help increase transparency and oversight of the department. Austin residents can file complaints against the Austin Police Department’s law enforcement personnel online, via phone, by mail or in-person.

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office formed its own civil rights division in 2017. For additional information, click here.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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