Five police officers were killed in Dallas late Thursday and eight others were injured by shooters during a peaceful protest over the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Dallas police chief David Brown said one of the suspects in the shooting revealed he was upset over recent police shootings against African Americans and wanted to target white police officers.
With so many tragedies across the U.S. this week, here’s a look at how you can help in your local community and in Dallas, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1. Donate blood. Only two days before the shootings in Dallas, the American Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donations in northern Texas after seeing a drop in supplies locally and nationally.
“Donations are urgently needed now to meet the needs of hospital patients in the coming days and weeks,” said Jan Hale of the Southwest Blood Services Region, local media reported. “If you’ve thought about giving blood and helping to save lives, now is the time to do it.”
2. Support the families of fallen police officers. There are several national and local groups that aid the families of fallen police officers, including the Concerns of Police Survivors.
If you plan to donate to other organizations, be sure to check with websites including Charity Navigator to see how much of your donation will directly support the cause in order to avoid any scams. Check here for tips on how to select a charity to donate to.
3. Online fundraising. Keep an eye out for online fundraisers through websites like GoFundMe to support individuals and families. Be sure to verify where your donation is going. A campaign to support Sterling’s family posted by the family’s lawyer has already raised funds, USA Today reported. Writer and actress Issa Rae and director Xavier L. Burgin also started pages for both Sterling and Castille’s families and both have raised over $100,000.
4. Learn about local laws. As Ijeoma Oluo of the Establishment pointed out on Twitter this week, it's important to know the answers to several questions about your local community including, what are your police department's accountability procedures and are there provisions for citizen oversight? Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have issued guides on how communities should work with police departments.