What began as a call for donations through a bingo board, adding up to $100, on Amaya Neely’s ’21 May 30 Instagram story was soon replaced with direct contributions sent to her Venmo account as the number of donors climbed.
By the end of the day, Neely had raised over $1,000, going to organizations involved in protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
As one of the only Black Americans in several of her organizations on campus — including her professional fraternity and social sorority — Neely felt especially well-positioned to take action and collect donations.
“A lot of the experiences African Americans endure get drowned out in an echo chamber since many members of society have never encountered such things,” Neely said. “Exposing people who have not been reached through personal stories and first-hand experiences is a big reason why I began fundraising and spreading awareness.”
Before last week, Neely had never used her social media accounts as a political medium, concerned with the potential backlash she could receive from future employers or her peers.
However, after witnessing the transgression of basic human rights throughout the country in the past few weeks, she felt compelled to spread awareness of the protests.
Neely observed that a large portion of the police brutality videos that had surfaced online were coming out of Los Angeles County. As a native to the area, she selected the Los Angeles-based People’s City Council Freedom Fund as the first organization she would donate to.
The People’s City Council Freedom Fund is dedicated to providing African American protestors with a host of different support services — including bail payments or help with legal fees that might arise as they continue protesting. Neely has already sent in over $800 in donations to the Fund.
Since May 30, Neely has collected over $2,800 in donations — of which she matched the first $500 — for not only the People’s City Council Freedom Fund, but a number of other similar organizations throughout the country.
Neely was taken aback by how much money she managed to raise in such a short amount of time.
“I don’t expect any of my friends or peers to become full fledged social justice warriors, but it’s gratifying to see so many people get behind the movement. I appreciate the support in any way, shape or form if it’s productive,” Neely explained.
For those who are not able to contribute financially, Neely offered a number of alternative actions that can help spread awareness and fortify the Black Lives Matter movement. Among them are watching adsense YouTube videos, signing petitions, reading Black historical literature, supporting Black-owned businesses, sharing stories and posts on social media and voting for new policies.