10 BIPOC Causes To Support Instead of Australia Day
In light of the anniversary of the genocide of Indigenous Australians that began on January 26, I have compiled a list of 10 BIPOC (Black and Indigenous Persons of Colour) charities I have donated $10 each to this week.
Why am I flexing my donation? Because research shows that observability drastically increase the likelihood that someone will join a cause. I was motivated by the TED Talk I’ll link below.
When somebody is watching, we tend to give more. Makes sense, right? Not giving is so much easier than giving that when the opportunity to give is presented, its just easiest to scroll past. Even if you do care deeply about the cause, it takes less effort to keep walking than it takes to stop and pull out your wallet for someone shaking a tin on the street corner. But if you were asked directly and you knew your friends had donated before you… What would you do? You’d give if you had the means, even if it was just spare change.
I’m sharing how much I gave and where I gave it to because it’s an example of practical, tangible action we can take at a time of pain and mourning. January is a rough time where we inevitably see a rise in white nationalism and racial slurs. So for white allies, it’s a good time to pay attention to our role in it all.
Knowing where to insert yourself into the conversations of racism and decolonisation as a white person isn’t easy, and I don’t have it figured out yet.
How does a white person use their privilege to disrupt the status quo while still centring the right people in the discussion? If you’re like me, you’re worried about striking the balance between the violent complicity of silence and the risks of being a disruptor that centres themselves as the protagonist.
Donating to BIPOC organisations is a way of uplifting and centring the appropriate voices. It supports those who have the tools to best represent the people affected. Paying BIPOC to continue the work they’re already doing helps you become a disruptor without making it about you. In a world where people of colour are underpaid and underrepresented, we need to share wealth to raise their platform.
Sharing donations is usually seen as flexing for our own ego, which I kind of view as bullshit. Anytime a celebrity does something amazing with their wealth and privilege, they’re always met with criticism that it’s just for the media. And my response is always…. So?
What if we pulled down the shroud surrounding charitable giving and normalised talking about it, ingraining it into our social norms? What if instead of it being a flex, it was considered etiquette? Our paycheque comes in and 10% of that just automatically goes towards a social change we hope to see happen in our lifetime. And we all did this not out of shame, but out of a sense of collective responsibility. Because we acknowledge we’re all in this together and therefore we’re all responsible for funding solutions to social problems. Not just leaving victims to bankroll their own liberation (while building society upon anti-black institutions that openly discriminate against people of colour and prevent them from reaching the financial security white people take for granted).
If you are looking to make change on racial inequality, putting money in the hands of BIPOC is a necessity. It’s fantastic to be a social media advocate or to march in a rally, but these issues won’t go away unless we divert resources to resolving them.
Here’s the organisations I found this week. I only started research earlier in the week so found it difficult to find 10 Indigenous-run organisations, so please, leave comments of other groups you think I should check out at the bottom of this post or on Instagram.
Healing Foundation is an Indigenous-run organisation that conducts research, commemorations, trainings and runs programs that address intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities, with a focus on the Stolen Generation and creating a safe space for survivors to share their experiences. Through Healing Foundation grants, 175 community organisations have run their own healing projects.
This campaign was started by Sisters Inside Inc, but this crowdfunding campaign specifically targets single Indigenous mothers locked up in Western Australia prisons for defaulting on fines. These are simple fines, and these mothers don’t have criminal records. It’s a punishment for being black and poor. While Indigenous Australians only make-up 2% of Australia’s population they over-represent as 27% of adult prisoners. This fundraiser is releasing innocent mothers from prison to raise their own kids.
3) Indigenous X
Indigenous X is “a platform for Indigenous people to share their knowledge, opinions and experiences”. It’s a great Indigenous-owned resource for accessing the opinions of Indigenous Australians on the issues that most directly affect them. I couldn’t get their donate link on the website to work, so I signed up to their Patreon at the $7 USD tier for just one month to even out to $10 AUD per organisation.
Democracy In Colour is a racial justice foundation led by people of colour, founded by an old activist buddy Tim. Their focus is on holding elected representatives accountable for the impact of their actions on people of colour, as well as supporting young people of colour with the tools to be effective advocates for racial equality. Respect for the traditional owners of our land is built right into the homepage of their website.
5) Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF)
This foundation breaks their work down into three activities: A literacy program for kids under five, donating culturally appropriate books to rural communities, and publishing books written by rural communities in up to 18 Indigenous languages. About 3/4 of Indigenous kids fail to meet minimal literacy standards. The reasons are many including: Parents not understanding the benefits of formal education, inappropriate Western school environments don’t cater to kids’ needs, and distrust of schools’ motives which may keep kids out of school entirely. (Source.)
Following ILF, Yalari provide high school scholarships to leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous kids from rural communities. They don’t just put money in these families’ hands, they also mentor the kids through the process to prepare them for life in boarding school or university, learn practical life skills (the kind we all wish school taught us), and there’s even a program for kids to work together on raising funds to earn one more kid a scholarship. Yalari’s Founding Director is an Indigenous man.
Wunan’s goal is to decrease welfare-dependency in the East Kimberly from 80% to 20%. If you’re unfamiliar, the Kimberly region is the last remaining pristine savannah in the world. It’s often considered the last unexplored frontier, and it contains the world’s oldest rock art from our Indigenous Australians up to 60,000 years ago. Wunan are a mostly Indigenous-run not-for-profit focused on investing in the individual’s ability. In development work, we call this capacity-building. Donations go towards education, employment, accommodation, welfare reform, health and leadership programs. Their website is also transparent about their activities and the issues they’re tackling if you want to learn more.
The Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network are an offshoot of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (who I was involved with in uni) that is an Indigenous-led movement of young people fighting for climate justice. They summarise why I’m so passionate about this on their website: “Climate change is an issue of environmental and social justice. It is an issue that affects everybody but the impacts are not evenly distributed. Too often it’s the people who have contributed the least to the causes of climate change that are facing the most severe impacts.”
9) Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC)
This not-for-profit exists to assist the survivors of the Stolen Generation that were kept in the Kinchela Boys Home in NSW between 1924 and 1970. These boys were subject to physical, sexual, psychological and cultural abuse, as well as the trauma of being removed from their families and culture in the name of assimilation (cultural genocide). This organisation was the most painful for me to learn about, which is perhaps why they’re in the most need of donations for sustainability. These crimes are hard for White Australia to acknowledge. KBHAC fund “peer support models that address the reconstruction of identity, restoration of family structures and improved social inclusion in community.” This is important in a mental health and medical system that largely ignores the existence of Indigenous genocide and doesn’t otherwise have culturally appropriate resources to seek help.
10) National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)
NASCA is a 100% Indigenous-governed organisation that uses sports programs to inspire kids to reach their potential in an effort to decrease social inequality. While I don’t like sports so my initial reaction is to scroll past a sports charity, in 2014 I completed a research internship with an Indigenous health organisation that facilitated public health check-ups at community sporting events. I have seen the first-hand data that proves this is an effective way to bring communities together in a positive environment and provide important community services without the stress of White Australian institutions. Plus, teaching kids without letting them know they’re being taught is pretty genius.
At first, I really struggled to find organisations that were Indigenous-led and thought I’d have to compromise and perhaps give to American organisations and broaden this perspective. I did relax my standards below the stringency I would have liked to use. However, since donating to the above 10 charities I’ve also found these:
As I mentioned, do let me know of other organisations that take public donations that I could share in the future. I’m particularly interested in Indigenous health services that accept public donations. I’m also interested in any funds that fuel the push to #changethedate. I found no campaigns I could contribute to monetarily.
Comment below if you have any Indigenous groups you support, or what you’re doing to honour and uplift the voices of Aboriginal people this January 26.
If you don’t have an Invasion Day rally in your area, I hope your day is a relaxing day at home, quietly paying your respects to the trauma and dispossession that occurred on the land you’re standing on. Surely, we know this is not a day of celebration.
My cover image was free off Pixabay, who let you buy the photographer a “cup of coffee”.