Celebrities Are Helping Pay Bail for People Protesting Across the Nation

George Floyd was murdered a week ago today, and celebrities are supporting protestors across the country by donating to bail funds for those arrested.

minneapolis, mn may 31 a person holds a sign as a crowd marches through downtown to protest the death of george floyd on may 31, 2020 in minneapolis, minnesota the protest was disrupted after a man drove a tanker truck into the crowd photo by stephen maturengetty images
(Image credit: Stephen Maturen)

George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man (opens in new tab) who lived in Minneapolis, was murdered a week ago today when white police officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed him, pinned him to the ground, and pressed his knee against his neck. Harrowing video footage shows Floyd begging for his life, telling the officer, "Please, I can’t breathe," while people at the scene plead for Chauvin to stop. Instead, Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, as the New York Times reports (opens in new tab), while officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng stood by.

Floyd was pronounced dead that night. All four officers have been fired, while Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Across the U.S., protestors have decried Floyd's murder and the ongoing police brutality directed towards Black people, with many calling for Chauvin's charges to be upgraded to first-degree murder and for the other officers at the scene to be charged too. Protestors have also called attention to the absence of charges brought against the killers of Breonna Taylor (opens in new tab), a Louisville woman who was shot eight times by police in her own apartment on March 13, as well as to the recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery (opens in new tab)—and countless other Black victims of racist brutality.

Numerous celebrities have shown their support for the protestors, with many donating to funds to bail out those arrested.

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Gabrielle Union tweeted that she had donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (opens in new tab) as well as the Louisville Community Bail Fund (opens in new tab), in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, urging her followers to do the same where possible.

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In an Instagram video, Lizzo encouraged people to follow her in donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (opens in new tab), to a fund dedicated to rebuilding Minneapolis' Lake Street (opens in new tab), and to the Black Visions Collective (opens in new tab), which campaigns for the Minneapolis City Council to defund the Minneapolis Police Department and invest in Black communities as well as Indigenous communities and other communities of color.

Musician Noname triggered a chain of donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, after sharing her own pledge and encouraging celebrities who followed her to do the same. Janelle Monáe, Yara Shahidi, Kehlani, 6LACK, and Jameela Jamil were among those who followed suit.

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Monáe also donated to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, as well as sharing a list of petitions to sign and bail funds (opens in new tab) across the country to donate to, urging white people and others with privilege to act.

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Kerry Washington hosted a yoga and meditation class on Instagram Live over the weekend, donating money to the Black Visions Collective and the Louisville Community Bail Fund for each participant.

On Saturday, Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she was donating $100,000 to bail funds nationwide, subsequently increasing the figure to $200,000.

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John Legend specified the organizations he and Teigen would donate to: the Movement for Black Lives (opens in new tab), a coalition of Black organizations across the U.S., progressive bar association the National Lawyers Guild (opens in new tab), and the Bail Project (opens in new tab), which operates a national bail fund and campaigns against the money bail system.

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Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, encouraging their social media followers to do the same.

Chris Evans condemned a video posted by Anna Kendrick of police officers shoving, beating, and pepper spraying protestors, as well as driving police cars through crowds of people and trampling a protestor with a police horse. He shared a list of places to donate (opens in new tab) to the families of victims, protestors, and Black-owned businesses.

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Other celebrities who shared their donations on Twitter included Don Cheadle, Harry Styles, Seth Rogen, and Steve Carell.

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Football player Colin Kaepernick, who started a protest movement against anti-Black racism and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, has established a legal defense initiative for protestors (opens in new tab). Kaepernick's "Know Your Rights" campaign will provide free legal representation for Minneapolis' "Freedom Fighters."

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How can I help pay protestors' bail?

All the organizations celebrities have donated to are linked throughout the article. The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which has received over $20 million in donations, has requested that further pledges be directed to George Floyd's family (opens in new tab) and local organizations Black Visions Collective (opens in new tab), mentioned above, and Reclaim The Block (opens in new tab), a coalition led by Black Visions Collective which also works towards diverting funding away from policing and towards community resources.

You also can split a donation across 37 nationwide bail funds here (opens in new tab), or donate to any of the 60+ funds that make up the National Bail Fund Network here (opens in new tab).

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.