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Here’s how to fight for people of color in NYC

Written by
Tolly Wright

It just isn’t the cast of Hamilton that is “alarmed and anxious.” There has been a spike in hate crimes recently in NYC, many against people of color, and Jewish and Muslim Americans. In fact, the New York Police Department reports a 31 percent increase from this time last year. “This is real, and it’s happening at a rapid rate,” Beastie Boys’ Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz told attendees of an anti-hate rally last month at Brooklyn Heights’ Adam Yauch Park, where swastikas were found spray-painted onto playground equipment. (The late Yauch, a.k.a. the Beasties’ MCA, was Jewish.) “Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy, and lend your services to the causes you care most about, because we can’t and we won’t stop,” said Horovitz. So let’s go! 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to activism in NYC

Black Lives Matter

Though many groups have used the hashtag in the face of police brutality, the official organization was started by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and New Yorker Opal Tometi after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It’s since grown to include many chapters working toward liberation for all black people, including the queer and disabled who are sometimes removed from the conversation. To join the organization’s voice as its calls for the end of police shootings and unfair policies, check its Facebook and Twitter page for regular announcements on marches and other  events.  


The Brujas (that’s “witches” in Spanish) are a badass skateboarding collective comprising young women born and raised in New York. In addition to making women feel safer to express themselves on their boards—skateboarding is generally a male-dominated activity in the city’s parks—the group also focuses on providing safe, fun places and activities for urban youth of color. Its femme skate dates, lecture series, film screenings and parties—like a recent soiree focused on Latinx (that’s the gender-neutral form of Latino) issues—form a community in which marginalized populations can come together. The Brujas currently have a programming residency at Recess (41 Grand St; through December 23. 

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Over the past two decades, Muslim Americans have turned to CAIR to defend their rights and fight prejudice. While parents and teachers can work together to request training against bullying in schools, New Yorkers can help by volunteering at the New York branch’s office, which can include everything from helping lead a “know your rights” educational session to working on protests opposing the NYPD’s Demographics Unit.

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