Christmastime is here.  It’s a time to reflect on how abundantly blessed we’ve been; how fortunate we are.  It’s also the giving season and opportunities to uplift others abound!  Organizations and causes are pulling on our heartstrings and shaking our conscious.  The following are just a few suggestions to consider.  Many local, national and international groups will accept our contributions throughout this holiday season and beyond.

The National Civil Rights Museum opened in 1991 in Memphis, Tennessee, taking over the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination more than two decades prior. Dr. Clayborne Carson, a noted King scholar, has stated the museum provides the “best and most recent scholarship on civil rights available today.”

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s aim is to make “structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.”

The Sentencing Project founded in 1986, is foremost in its field in promoting research and challenging the way Americans think about criminal punishment. In 2010, for example, the organization played a seminal role in passing the Fair Sentencing Act, which was signed by former President Barack Obama.

Equal Justice Initiative which was founded in 1989 also works to solve the problems of mass incarceration.  They provide expert representation in the courtrooms to those who have been “illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons.” Additionally, the organization advocates for the removal of the death penalty and more effective means of reducing the rates of recidivism.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund is only about 30 years old, but it’s the largest organization in the nation that supports historically black colleges and universities; providing leadership, lobbying, job recruiting, and scholarships.

Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) seeks to educate students of all backgrounds about the history of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism.

Black AIDS Institute which was founded in 1999, is the only national HIV/AIDs think tank focused solely on African Americans. Their mission “is to stop the AIDS pandemic in black communities by engaging and mobilizing black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV.”

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, launched by President Obama in 2014, seeks to cultivate communities that empower young men of color.

100 Black Men of America is one of the country’s largest mentorship programs.  Its inaugural members included visionaries like Jackie RobinsonThe organization has a widely respected track record.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) was formed to “build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case.  The organization is grassroots and seeks to bring members of the black community who have been previously marginalized into the fold.

Black Girls CODE, founded in 2011, is committed to teaching underprivileged African-American girls computer programming languages. Their goal is to “train 1 million girls by 2040,” preparing them to fill high-paying computer jobs.

Twenty-five years ago, two law professors—Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld—founded The Innocence Project which uses DNA testing to exonerate men and women wrongly convicted by the justice system. By 2018, they had freed 362 wrongfully convicted men and women while helping to find 158 of the actual perpetrators.

The Point Foundation is the nation’s largest provider of higher education scholarships for LGBTQ youth. Seventy-five percent of those currently on scholarship from the Point Foundation are people of color making it deserving of our support.

A holiday staple is The Salvation Army.  Their bell ringers are stationed at most shopping malls urging you to drop money into their bright red kettles.  Whenever you give, you’re supporting their mission to fight hunger and homelessness everywhere. Goodwill’s mission here in central Florida is “building lives that work”.  Your donations of clothing and household items are sold in their retail locations to support programs and provide tools that help people overcome barriers to employment and find meaningful work.

Know that whatever you give freely and cheerfully during this giving season will be significantly impactful and greatly appreciated.  Find all of these organizations on the world wide web for additional information and to make your donations.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

About the Author

Sharon Fletcher Jones is a true Libra, an action-ist, and a budget fashionista.  The Portsmouth, Virginia native is also an employment specialist with Goodwill Industries, a life coach and an associate editor at ONYX Magazine. Stacey’s mom (literally) has got it going on.  Fletcher Jones’ personal mantra is “It’s the dash that counts.”

 

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