Amidst a rising insurgence of anti-racist protests in the USA and across the UK, we must still keep in mind that the world still is experiencing the worst global health pandemic in history. If you’re planning on attending any Black Lives Matter protests this weekend, it is necessary to take the proper precautions to protect your health.
The COVID-19 virus is still very much a threat, and as we are on the road to recovery, we must keep in mind the previously accepted rules of social distancing and tips on self-hygiene to ensure that we don’t risk setting off a second wave of the virus.
In a strong show of support to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to protest against ‘Police Brutality’, major cities in the UK have scheduled various demonstrations including marches, rallies, speeches and chants in solidarity with those supporting the #BlackLivesMatter in the USA.
Nottingham too is looking to express their solidarity with this cause with an event set to take place this Sunday, 7 June with mass gatherings in the city’s Market Square from noon onwards.
However, amidst all this, we must understand that the pre-existing lockdown rules and regulations set in place by the Government are still very much in motion and will be valid on this day.
The Evening Standard reported that Lockdown regulations still remain in place with mass gatherings forbidden, however many of the protests have been given the go-ahead by authorities.
Therefore, we must ensure that we conduct ourselves responsibly and safely in order to prevent the spread of the virus to our fellow participants.
Protesting safely and responsibly
Here are five simple steps that you can consider following to ensure that we limit the spread of the virus while supporting our brother and sisters of the movement.
1. Assess whether it is safe for you to protest or not
Although protests are a great form of raising awareness of important issues, they can also turn dangerous very quickly. On top of the physical dangers to protesting, we must also consider the invisible danger of COVID-19. Therefore, if you have any underlying health conditions, or you have previously been at home shielding, you should not attend a protest. You should only protest if you feel fit and healthy enough to do so; there are many other ways that you can help the movement without putting your own life at risk.
2. Do not go to a protest if you have coronavirus symptoms
The answer is clear here. If you are showing symptoms, do not attend protests and do not go outside your house. Government guidelines state that if you think you might have the virus, you need to self isolate for at least two weeks – protesting is not an exclusion of this rule. Instead, you can easily use your voice from the comfort of your own home by signing petitions, donating and educating yourself. By staying at home, you will not only be protecting your own life, but the lives of everyone else attending the protest you had planned on going to.
3. Always wear a mask
If you don’t think yourself to be at risk and you are not showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, grab your mask and start protesting! Since we are in a global pandemic, wearing a mask is an essential factor in making your protesting experience as safe as it can be. Whether you have access to a medical mask, a cloth mask or even a large scarf that can be wrapped around your mouth and nose, any mask is better than no mask at all.
4. Hygiene is key
In a better effort to try and avoid the clutches of the coronavirus, try and be as hygienic as possible whilst protesting. Essentially, this means washing your hands when you can (or using hand sanitiser) and coughing and sneezing discreetly; it’s recommended that you cough and sneeze into your elbow, however, if you have a persistent cough, you should stay at home.
5. Try and avoid the large crowds
We know that it is not always possible to maintain social distancing when attending a protest. As seen with the Black Lives Matter protests in London, large crowds are inevitable. However, if you are attending a protest where there is a smaller amount of people, try and maintain your two metres distance where possible. People gathered in Hull yesterday (5 June) for a socially distanced protest, one which should be set as an example for future protests occurring across the country.
I can’t go to a protest… What can I do to support the Black Lives Matter movement from home?
There are a number of things you can do to show solidarity, and all you will need is your phone or a computer!
Petitions often take under a minute to sign, but that minute of your time can make a significant difference. Make sure to confirm your email address after completing the process of signing the petition!
Here are a list of links to petitions you might want to sign:
- Justice for George Floyd
- Justice for Belly Mujinga
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Justice for Tony McDade
- Petition for stricter charges for police officers involved of murder of George Floyd
- Petition for UK Government to condemn President Trump’s response to the murder of George Floyd
- Petition for British schools to teach children about the realities of British Imperialism and Colonialism
If you have the funds available to donate money to any of the causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement, you should definitely consider doing so. Even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash, many creators have produced Youtube content that allow the viewer to donate by simply watching the adverts on their videos.
Here are just a few examples of these videos:
We all need to be more aware of the oppression black people have faced in the past and sadly, the oppression they are still facing in the present day. Without better education and sufficient understanding, little change will be made.
Here are just some of the resources we can use to further educate ourselves:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Renni Eddo-Lodge
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
- Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World – Layla Saad
- When They See Us – Netflix
- Dear White People – Netflix
- 13th – Netflix
- Pod Save the People – Crooked Media
- About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Stoop – Hana Baba and Leila Day
Written by Randev Jayasinha & Jessica Goddard
Feature image credit: Unsplash