#WokeGiving This Holiday Season

This was the year seemingly everyone woke up. From Black Lives Matter to #MeToo to the migrant caravan, from Hollywood to small town America, social movements and causes gained quick and widespread traction. Especially online. It’s hard to find a social media account that doesn’t have at least one woke post. Probably, hopefully, including yours.

Now it’s time to put your money where your memes are.

Those of us just starting to understand the realities and complexities of systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and more need to also understand something else: Unjust systems don’t get fixed simply through memes or even the occasional political t-shirt. These problems are solved by organizations, led by those most affected, demanding accountability from institutions and leaders and pushing for changes to policies and practices. And in spite of all the woke posts on social media lately, those organizations are still struggling for resources. That’s where you come in.

Look back over your tweets and snaps and insta posts for the last year. What causes did you stand up for? Now identify one or two organizations that reflect those causes and send them a check. If you want, you can post on social media that you’re making a donation. And you can even invite your friends to make a donation, too, even in lieu of giving you a gift. Plus you can take this as an opportunity to do for others what I’m doing for you here — helping explain that social media posts about worthy causes aren’t enough. As the saying goes, money talks. And even small donations — $10 or $25 — speak volumes to grassroots organizations led by communities of color.

Plus donating your own money, at any amount, speaks to the kind of person you are.

To get you started, here are a few organizations you might consider — organizations that are doing the hard work of fighting injustice and organizing for change, led by and for the communities most often hurt by injustice but most often overlooked when it comes to charitable giving.

These are just some suggestions. Make your end-of-the-year #WokeGiving list today, send your donations and share your list with others. The fact is, promoting a cause online is as easy as it is personally gratifying, but you’re grown enough to know these causes have bills to pay. And standing up for justice can’t just be about more than earning brownie points with the choir but actually actualizing real change. You can do that with your dollars. And you should do it now.

Edgar Villanueva (@VillanuevaEdgar) is an author and social justice philanthropy expert. He serves as on the boards of Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Andrus Family Fund, and is vice president of programs and advocacy at The Schott Foundation.

Edgar Villanueva