Black Lives Matter: How to Get Involved, Resources & Reading Recommendations

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, yet countless Black lives continue to be lost at the hands of police and white supremacists. The time for silence is long over; the status is not quo and it is critical that we support the people on the ground fighting for their lives (during a pandemic which is disproportionately affecting them, no less) and demand change.

Reader Voracious is going on hiatus for the time being to focus my energy on supporting Black Lives Matter and becoming a better ally. But I want to use my platform to provide information how you can be involved, resources of where to look for information, reading suggestions to confront our privilege, and uplift three Black debut authors’ novels we all should add to our TBRs!

10 Ways You Can Get Involved in Black Lives Matter & Show Your Support

It is time for all of us to collectively use our voices and demand change, and this takes many forms. There are a lot of ways you can get involved!

  1. Use your privilege to boost Black voices
  2. Sign petitions (if you’re outside of the United States and need a postal code, you can use 92103 in San Diego, California)
  3. Share petitions, bail funds & GoFundMe campaigns on your social media platforms
  4. Donate to bail funds & GoFundMe campaigns if you’re financially able (consider setting up monthly donations!)
  5. Watch Stream to Donate with adblockers off to help contribute to bail funds (don’t skip the ads and don’t mute the video on Youtube)
  6. Join a protest if you’re capable or provide information to those on the ground on your social media platforms
  7. Talk to your friends and family (call them out/in)
  8. Use trigger warnings when sharing images of police brutality & violence against Black people
  9. Educate yourself on the systems in place which have led to the disenfranchisement of Black people and confront your privilege (See Additional Reading)
  10. Remain critical when consuming the news and be aware of the narrative they are trying to paint – get your news from multiple sources

It’s important as white and non-black POC that we do not center ourselves and our feelings in these discussions.

The best resource I’ve found is blacklivesmatters.carrd.co, which is constantly being updated with new information and petitions as they become available. Do not ask Black people to educate you or provide you with recommendations.

Debut YA Novels by Black Authors Out NOW!

Debuting as an author is a busy and intense time under the best of circumstances.

While it is important for my fellow white and non-Black readers of color to read nonfiction to educate ourselves, it is also critically important to read Black stories that do not center on Black pain.

June 2, 2020 Debut YA Novels by Black Authors

Please take the time to check out and celebrate these three debut novels from Black authors! Request them at your local libraries and/or purchase from Black-owned indie bookstores if you’re able, and boost them on social media. None of the links below are affiliate links.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Publisher: Tor Teen  |  Release Date: June 2, 2020  |  Pages: 288
Age Range:
Young Adult  |  Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy

Goodreads  Buy Indie  Amazon  B&N  Book Depository  LibroFM

Cover for A Song Below WaterTavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

✨✨✨

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Publisher: Balzer + Bray  |  Release Date: June 2, 2020  |  Pages: 480
Age Range:
Young Adult  |  Genre: Fantasy, Mythology

Goodreads  Buy Indie  Amazon  B&N  Book Depository  LibroFM

Cover for A Song of Wraiths and RuinThe first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

✨✨✨

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Publisher: Scholastic Press  |  Release Date: June 2, 2020  |  Pages: 336
Age Range:
Young Adult  |  Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIAP+

Goodreads  Buy Indie  Amazon  B&N  Book Depository  LibroFM

You Should See Me in a Crown coverLiz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Additional Reading & Resources

Now more than ever people are finally looking for resources to educate themselves and become better allies. This is good! Confronting the systems of power in place to disenfranchise people is difficult but important work. The first step is realizing how insidious these systems are and how we unknowingly play into and benefit from them.

I want to encourage everyone to read and/or listen to The 1619 Project, a collection of essays edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones examining the legacy of slavery in the United States. It’s a good first step for people looking to educate themselves and confront their privilege, and is free to read online. (It is also on Goodreads, so be sure to mark it as read & leave a short review to bring more awareness to this!)

Another great place to start is by watching this 10-minute video from Emmanuel Acho.

Once you have a good primer on the 400 years of systemic oppression Black people face, it is time to start unlearning and relearning. The tweet below has grouped nonfiction books on anti-racism into sections so we can all become better allies.

It’s important that we continue to show up for Black Lives Matter, not just today. I made the decision to halt blog content for the time being as I don’t want this to be my focus right now. I want to spend time helping, learning, listening, and spreading awareness.

All lives cannot matter until All Black Lives Matter.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

17 Comments

  1. Lisa @ waytoofantasy

    June 3, 2020 at 5:21 AM

    Great post, Kal! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kal

      June 3, 2020 at 6:30 PM

      Thank you so much for reading, Lisa!

  2. Mary

    June 3, 2020 at 7:33 AM

    This is so, so needed right now, especially as a way to provide a resource outside of the Black community so they can focus on mourning instead of helping us understand when we haven’t been listening for so long. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Kal

      June 3, 2020 at 6:30 PM

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read & comment, Mary!

    2. San

      June 6, 2020 at 1:31 PM

      Thank you so much Kal for this post! I really appreciate that you included educational resources, we really need them.

  3. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer

    June 3, 2020 at 8:01 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Kal! I loved your reminder to not only read non-fiction, but Black stories that don’t just focus on Black pain. You’re so right. <3

    1. Kal

      June 5, 2020 at 1:37 PM

      I am guilty of prioritizing books that center on Black pain because of my genre preferences, so this reminder is also a self callout to give contemporary books more of a try, haha Thank you so much for reading, Dedra!

  4. Davida Chazan

    June 4, 2020 at 6:45 AM

    Excellent… Thanks for this!

    1. Kal

      June 5, 2020 at 1:37 PM

      You’re welcome and thank you for reading Davida!

  5. Nourishing The Shelves | Nonfiction Books I’ll Read In These Terrifying Times – R E A (D) I V I N E

    June 4, 2020 at 9:43 AM

    […] Hello there allies, archenemies, and everyone in between! In case you need some reminding #JunkTerrorBill #OustYouKnowWho #BlackLivesMatter click the hashtags to get a comprehensive look on the issues and different ways to help as well as keeping your data privacy safe while doing online activism. Also, Kal @ ReaderVoracious have outlined resources and reading recommendations for the BLM movement make sure to check it out through this link! […]

  6. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    June 5, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    This is great, Kal, thank you for posting these resources! <3

  7. Krisha

    June 6, 2020 at 7:43 AM

    Such an informative post, Kal! I love how you have covered everything. 💛

  8. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

    June 9, 2020 at 2:32 AM

    What a wonderful post, Kal, thank you for taking the time to share all of these important resources <3

  9. Meg

    June 10, 2020 at 6:51 PM

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing it!

  10. Gayathri

    June 17, 2020 at 6:04 AM

    Such an useful post. People who are not in the USA, like me, want to know and do better, and not know how to, apart from retweeting and posting on the blogs. And thank you.

  11. Flora Gatehouse

    June 21, 2020 at 4:20 AM

    Great post, Kal. The resources available are fantastic, there’s a link for us UK peeps too which I’ve followed and saved. I’ve now got lots of worthwhile government petitions to sign and share as well as loads of helpful reading material and resources.
    Thank you. XxXx

  12. Dancing out of June 2020 – A Dance With Books

    July 4, 2020 at 10:02 PM

    […] Death by Tsondoku shares her anti-racist reading list. ⌘ Kal from Reader Voracios shared lots of resources and reading recommendations for Black Lives Matter. ⌘ Jenna from Falling Letters shares 18 Middle Grade Speculative Fiction Books by Black Authors. […]

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