How Can You Protest Safely (Especially During the COVID-19 Pandemic)?

Photo Courtesy: John Lamparski/NurPhoto/Getty Images

From the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco to the March on Washington, which led to passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, riots and protests have always been the most visible, direct and, seemingly, effective way to create change in the United States. Now, as more and more Americans — and folks all over the world — stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, large-scale demonstrations and protests are proving by sheer size alone just how many folks want to dismantle white supremacist systems and end police brutality.

When it comes to in-person protesting, there are always safety concerns to consider. Not only has police brutality continued as officers murder Black Americans like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, but journalists and protesters exercising their rights by reporting the truth and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, respectively, are being met with government-sanctioned violence.

Concurrently, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take lives and disproportionately hurt our most vulnerable populations. While some states are slowly reopening, the novel coronavirus is making many folks, regardless of phased openings and masks, not want to gather in large crowds — even if they feel driven to do so as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether you’re joining the crowds or not, here’s what you need to know to protest safely.