Tips for Protesting Safely during a Pandemic

Tips for Protesting Safely during a Pandemic


One significant solution to present up and help the Black Lives Matter movement is to face up for what you imagine at a protest. There are nonetheless protests you possibly can be a part of every single day throughout the nation to demand racial justice and fairness in our communities.

We’ve gathered info beneath that’s been helpful to us these previous few weeks as we’ve joined protests—from COVID-specific precautions to methods to organize and what to carry.

Know the Dangers

It’s first necessary to acknowledge that gathering in large groups is high-risk as a result of present COVID-19 pandemic. Pictures of crowds gathering within the streets protesting could appear to be in direct distinction to what public well being consultants have persistently been saying for months: Keep dwelling to keep away from COVID-19 publicity. Nevertheless, that message is quickly altering. Public well being consultants understand that these protests for Black lives are essential for the bigger image of public well being in our nation, particularly as a result of Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at much higher rates than the remainder of the inhabitants, largely attributable to systemic racism and oppression.

A bunch of public well being consultants launched an opinion letter stating that they don’t condemn the protests as dangerous for COVID-19 transmission and that they’ve unwavering help for these protesting as a result of “white supremacy is a deadly public well being challenge that predates and contributes to COVID-19.”

In case you are immunocompromised, have preexisting well being circumstances that put you at increased danger for COVID-19 (like bronchial asthma, diabetes, lung illness, liver illness, extreme weight problems, or continual kidney illness), or are over sixty-five, your risk of a severe case of COVID-19 is higher, so you could wish to take into account staying dwelling or discussing the dangers of protesting along with your well being care practitioner. Whereas there are precautions which you can take on the protest to maintain your self secure, like carrying a masks or protecting distance from others, the fact is that you’ll be in shut proximity to plenty of different folks, and it’s typically troublesome to take care of distance. (We have now noticed personally at protests that extra persons are carrying masks in these areas than in another public areas we’ve encountered.)

Moreover, when police use tear fuel on protesters, as has been occurring across the nation, this will likely additional increase the risk for COVID-19 and different respiratory points. Tear fuel has additionally been reported to be an abortifacient and has brought about spontaneous menstruation and even miscarriages amongst pregnant girls. Chemical irritants used as riot control agents, like tear gas and pepper spray, could cause burning within the eyes and nostril, blurred imaginative and prescient, shortness of breath, and pores and skin irritation. Police may use rubber bullets, that are supposedly “less-than deadly,” however there have been a number of reports of serious injuries and deaths during protests. A 2017 assessment paper discovered that rubber bullets can cause severe injuries and death, significantly when they’re aimed on the head and neck.

What to Do earlier than the Protest

  1. Educate your self. Analysis the historical and current context across the protest. Study in regards to the Black Lives Matter Foundation. Comply with Black consultants, organizers, and related organizations. In case you are White, don’t burden Black associates or consultants with educating you personally—there are many sources obtainable. (We’ve collected some here.)

  2. Analysis the protest. Collect all the knowledge you possibly can in regards to the protest you might be planning to attend with the intention to perceive who the organizers are, the intent of the protest, and different logistical info.

  3. Plan forward. Decide when you will want to depart dwelling to reach on time and the place you’ll park, if you’re driving. Some protests have a deliberate route, so you possibly can select to park in the beginning of the route or on the finish of the route.

  4. Designate an emergency contact. Be sure that a couple of individuals know the place you might be and that you’re attending this protest. Ask one in all them to be your emergency contact, and write their quantity on a piece of paper. Put the piece of paper in your shoe in case you might be arrested and your gadgets are confiscated. It’s also possible to use a everlasting marker to write down this quantity in your forearm.

  5. Protest with a group. For those who can keep away from it, don’t protest alone. In case you are attending with associates or household, focus on your plan for the occasion forward of time, together with agreed-upon behaviors and actions that shall be taken, a assembly spot in case you get separated, how lengthy you propose to remain, and whether or not you all are snug staying if the scenario escalates or will get violent. Take into account creating a group chat on an app resembling Signal, an encrypted messaging service, to speak privately.

  6. Make a signal that echoes the message and intent of the protest.

  7. Examine in with your self. In case you are feeling sick, don’t attend the protest to keep away from spreading COVID-19. Take other actions from home to help the trigger and be taught.

What to Put on

  1. A face masks that’s snug and breathable.

  2. Nondescript clothes, resembling a black shirt and pants, so that you’re not simply identifiable. Conceal any tattoos or distinctive options.

  3. Snug closed-toed sneakers.

  4. A backpack for provides.

  5. Don’t put on make-up or fragrance, as they will entice chemical compounds and make tear fuel and different riot management brokers tougher to take away.

  6. Don’t put on contact lenses for those who can keep away from them. If tear fuel is launched, take away your contacts instantly and placed on glasses.

What to Convey

  1. Hand sanitizer—use it regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  2. Water and snacks. Observe: At some bigger protests, type folks have been handing out snacks, water, and hand sanitizer. However don’t depend on this. Further water also can assist rinse your eyes of irritants, resembling pepper spray and tear fuel.

  3. Layers of clothes to be able to adapt if the climate adjustments and protect your skin if tear gas is released.

  4. Goggles to guard your eyes if tear fuel is launched. For those who plan to put on contacts, pack prescription glasses in case you should take away your contacts. Convey a pair of fresh gloves to make use of if you should take away your contacts.

  5. An exterior telephone charger in case your telephone’s battery runs out.

  6. Your ID and money.

  7. A chunk of paper along with your emergency contact’s quantity in your shoe in addition to the phone number of a bail fund, if wanted, in case you might be arrested.

  8. Any medicines that you could be must take if you’re arrested or away from dwelling for longer than anticipated.

  9. Your signal.

What to Do on the Protest

  1. Comply with the organizers’ lead and echo their chants. In case you are a non-Black individual, you might be on the protests to point out your help for the Black neighborhood and pay attention. It is usually your responsibility to amplify their voices. This implies responding to their chants and following their lead as an alternative of making your individual chants or amplifying your individual message. This additionally means following the directions of the protest organizers. If they’re leaving or in the event that they let you know to depart, it is best to depart.

  2. Decrease COVID-19 publicity. Put on your masks always and take a look at your finest to take care of six ft of distance from others. Know that this gained’t at all times be doable.

  3. Doc safely. For those who select to take images on the occasion, blur or crop out the faces of individuals earlier than posting the images to guard their id. Doc any police brutality or arrests—it’s inside your rights to movie this.

  4. In case you are White, use your privilege. Shield folks of coloration by shielding them along with your physique and filming interactions with law enforcement officials.

  5. Keep in mind—particularly for those who’re a White individual—it’s not your job to find out how different persons are protesting. You’ll be able to at all times go dwelling.

  6. If tear fuel is launched, depart the quick space. Attempt to discover increased floor to scale back your publicity. Don’t rub your eyes. If there may be chemical irritant in your eyes, take away your contacts (for those who put on them), flush your eyes out with water, and clear off your face.

  7. Attempt to keep calm. For those who see folks working, consider your scenario and environment earlier than reacting and inciting extra panic.

  8. Know your rights. It’s your First Modification right to peacefully protest in public. You even have the correct to file or take images in any public area. In case you are stopped by a police officer whereas protesting, stay calm and ask if you’re being arrested. Ask if you’re free to depart. In case you are below arrest, you possibly can ask why. Don’t say something additional with out a lawyer current and don’t resist arrest, even when it doesn’t appear truthful. You wouldn’t have to consent to a search of your belongings. Ask the police officer if you can also make a telephone name, and name your emergency contact.

After the Protest

  1. Mirror. Mirror on what you skilled and realized from the protest and how one can higher uplift the message inside your neighborhood.

  2. Wash. Totally wash your fingers and clothes whenever you return dwelling, particularly for those who had been uncovered to chemical irritants.

  3. Take additional motion. Proceed to remain educated on the subject and observe up with extra actions like donations, petitions, or writing to your elected officers.


This text is for informational functions solely, even when and no matter whether or not it options the recommendation of physicians and medical practitioners. This text will not be, neither is it meant to be, a substitute for skilled medical recommendation, prognosis, or therapy and may by no means be relied upon for particular medical recommendation. The views expressed on this article are the views of the skilled and don’t essentially symbolize the views of goop.



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