//Fund Justice’s website logo.
Cities across the US and much of the world are embroiled in protests against excessive state force. Paradoxically, many municipal forces are fighting protests against police brutality with brute force. As of June 22, over 14,000 protestors have been arrested nationwide—and considering it is nearly August, that number has certainly gone up since then.
The protests are targeted at police brutality but stem from the systemic oppression of Black people in America in nearly every facet of life, even after 155 years of freedom from slavery. From economic racism to environmental racism to medical racism. The very structure of this country is built upon exploitation and domination.
It can be difficult and overwhelming to know exactly where to put your money, which is why a group of computer-savvy millennials put together a simple platform to browse bail funds, organizations, fundraisers, and Black-owned businesses. The platform, Fund Justice, is an easy-to-navigate website that can sift through funds based on location and type. The site was developed by Raj Makker, who is based in Brooklyn, NY; Natalie Lew, Ben Block, Bobby Azarbayejani and Alex Vertin in Seattle; and Agathe Lenclen, all the way from Berlin.
According to Makker, the team has scoured the web to build a database of funds to populate the aforementioned categories. He said the idea for the platform arose after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police and protests were happening across the country in earnest.
“I was scrambling to catch up so I could learn and contribute. Friends on Instagram were matching donations and I decided to do the same,” Makker said. “The process revealed to me how scattered resources were across the web, but [I] did see some excellent solutions popping up.”
Those solutions Makker referred to are lists that activists and allies have made using Google Drive and Linktree. The lists have become popular on apps like Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok, where users will connect to the resources in their bio.
At the beginning of June, Makker thought to himself that he could improve on this process. He drew up initial designs and shared them with his friend, Natalie Lew.
“We worked to refine [the designs] and I brought on friends from all over to help build it,” Makker wrote in an email. “It’s been really great connecting with people from my past to work together. We launched yesterday [July 28] and have been overwhelmed by all the positive feedback.”
Walking through the development process, Makker said he tried to stress simplicity. Although he’s building the platform largely to encourage financial support to the movement, Makker said that this isn’t the only aspect of work allies should be engaging in. In addition, he suggests that people self-educate and amplify Black voices. He’s hoping that the financial support platform will save people time in researching funds that they can commit to other forms of allyship.
“I hope that the tool can make the funding process of an ally’s work quicker,” he said.
The group asserts on their website that, “Fund Justice was started by a group of allies with no affiliation to the funds listed on this site. It is a non-commercial project that takes no cut of the transactions it helps facilitate.” Those who choose to donate using links on the site can rest assured that their money isn’t going to be siphoned off by a grifting platform.
So what can allies do? Well, a lot. But, supporting organizations that seek to create racial economic equity also creates a benevolent impact that can ripple into other sectors. Donating to bail and mutual aid funds can help benefit those who are in more vulnerable financial positions. Buying from Black-owned businesses and helping individuals obtain services that are purposefully out-of-reach, such as healthcare or transportation also helps. Healthcare, as an institution, has historically pathologized normal human behaviors and trauma responses. It has codified elements of eugenics that have been weaponized against the poor, disabled, and gender and racial minorities. Black and Indigenous people with uteruses were systematically given hysterectomies throughout the early twentieth century. To this day, hospitals and clinics in neighborhoods that are less white are chronically underfunded. Similarly, public transit has been designed not with efficiency in mind, but white flight. They have served as another tool to further disenfranchise minorities, Black people in particular.
The website can be found here, and if you would like to submit a fund to add to their database, there is a link to a Google form on their homepage.
Makker emphasized a statement that is also on the website itself.
“Through this initiative, we strive to inspire funding justice as an act of sustainability. While donating often is a one-time occurrence, we aim to create long-term systems of equity via wealth redistribution.”