We had an interesting panel about fan inclusiveness at ConFusion, which will no doubt spawn a few blog posts here. Among other things, Neil Rest asked what an individual can do to help, so I'm going to write a couple posts on that. The next one will likely (also) be one on what you can do if you have money - a list of fannish groups and authors that deserve your attention and support. Before I get there, however, I wanted to mention some more general civil rights and black culture groups and institutions that I support and would like to spread the word about.
- Color of Change - changing the color of democracy. These guys take specific action and run petitions to advance social and political change. I also find their emails very informative about current events I might want to have a voice in.
- Southern Poverty Law Center - a non-profit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. They track hate groups in the country, work against groups like the KKK by suing their funding out from under them on behalf of their victims, and provide free training resources for police and teachers. If you want to get a frighteningly accurate idea of how much right-wing racism has spurred hateful activity in this country since we got us a black president, browse the SPLC's website.
- The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. For over 80 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. It's a research center of the New York Public Library, and like all library efforts right now, needs private support to keep going.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union are also still working for civil rights. The NAACP also has a variety of awards and activities that promote the positive representation of people of color in literature and the media. (Our own Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes have won the NAACP Image Award, for example.)