By Michael Torres Jr., Big Brother and BBBS Black Advisory Council Member
Greetings, my name is Michael Torres I have been a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas since 2019. I will be going over “how can I help?” How can I push change and reform in San Antonio and the nation? It is not only important that our voices be heard but our actions are complete and pushed through the finish line.
First and foremost voting is the most important tool in our cabinet to fighting systemic racism and injustice. You may check your registration status by visiting Bexar.org and clicking the “register to vote” button. From there you may obtain an application to vote or check your voter registration status.
FILLING OUT THE CENSUS!
To ensure our communities are accurately represented we must do our due diligence to fill out the 2020 census, we need everybody in. Low Census reporting affects the apportionment of elected officials, including Congressional representation and County and City officials. This stands to impact communities that already struggle with disinvestment. To give every community a voice in government, an accurate Census count is crucial. The census can take as little as 5 minutes! Learn more here: www.2020census.gov or search on social media #AlphaCounts.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL OFFICIALS TO PUSH FOR CHANGE!
Along with voting and the census pushing for true change is most important at the local level. To quote former President Barack Obama, “So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.” You must write and call your local officials with and push for reform and action. To find your local officials you may visit usa.gov/elected-officials.
In order to understand black oppression, police violence, and how deep-seated racial discrimination has evolved in society you must educate yourself. Reading books such as “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander or Watching documentaries such as “13th” (Netflix). There is a vast amount of material available, many of it is free at your local libraries or a simple google search away.
You can donate to many of San Antonio’s an organizations that work for equality and combat racial injustice within our local community.
Local Organizations include:
- NPHC, Divine 9, and Black Greek Chapters
- San Antonio African American Community Fund
- 100 Black Men
National Organizations include:
- Black Lives Matter
- Campaign Zero
- The Know Your Rights Legal Defense Fund
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- The American Civil Liberties Union
- And any of the national bailout funds
Other ways you can help is by participating in local petitions and activism, serving on boards and commissions, running for local office, and supporting black businesses. Using your wallet is one of our most powerful tools. Supporting and investing in black business strengthens and enriches communities especially in these pandemic times.
View a video of Michael’s speech in this link.