How can we all protest for Black Lives Matter and navigate Covid-19 safely

covid-19,Black Lives Matter,Protesting

As we hit the streets and lend our voice to the Black Lives Matter movement and also listen to the stories from people of colour, we need to keep the current health crisis in mind. We can protest for BLM and stay safe during the covid-19 out brake.
shaun lonergan
6 mins

2020 is the year of change, whether it's a shift in our views of global warming, public safety or our social views of how racism has affected generations of people of colour. This is the time for real work and connection that could change the course of the Black Lives Matter movement. We are hoping so.

Image sourced from sacrée frangine follow the creative duo for more amazing work.

We should all be supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, in the form that best suits your life situation. Whether it's with your wallets, educating yourself on the social issues around race, creating a conversation about change or going to the streets, and protesting for change. We all need to contribute to this movement and show our support. However, we can not forget we are in the middle of a global pandemic and these two issues do not exclusively exist separately.

Black Lives Matter Art from sacrée frangine
Image sourced from sacrée frangine  

Why it’s important

We can't withhold protesting because of social distancing, the idea of silencing the voice of the public is a slippery slope and the right to free speech is one of the cornerstones to democracy. We don't protest by choice, we protest because the governing powers have failed the public and we are calling for change. Is it late? yes. Is it right that it has taken countless deaths and violent acts to reach this place of change? no, it is not. But we are all finally waking up to the long-standing residual issues held from colonialism and the racism towards people of colour that has affected these people for generations.

If this is the time we need to stand up for change and if that means we have to protest in the middle of a global pandemic then hell, we protest in a global pandemic and we can do so while considering public safety.

If you are hitting the streets to protest and lend your voice to Black Lives Matter movement calling for an end to police brutality against people of colour, there are a few details to consider for your safety and the safety of others.

Be a digital ninja

Let's be clear, the new wave of Black Lives Matter protest is centred on an end to police brutality. Let's not get it twisted, there is an element of danger in protesting against any institutions. Adopting a digital ninja approach is the best way to ensure you can show up tomorrow and continue the protest. Protecting your identity is a digital process in 2020, as our IRL identity is deeply entrenched in our digital footprint. You need to leave little to no trace when it comes to digital interactions this means:

  • Limit Social Media interaction:
  • Don't click attending to social media event pages.
  • Consider using a burner phone to ensure your complete digital anonymity
  • Disable location services on your smartphone
  • If you do plan to take your personal phone, take measures to ensure your safety
  • Disable Face identification on your smartphone so police can not unluck your device with just your face, switch your phone to aeroplane mode and don't interact on social media while protesting
  • Capture any suspicious behaviour or misconduct from police and bystanders alike.

Before you do go

Protesting is a collective voice, a group effort, and building of stories that drive change. If like me, you are white and coming from a position of privilege, there are a few points to keep in mind before you go.

  • This movement is not about you, you are lending your voice, time, energy and are showing up in solidarity with other people. Use your privilege to help push the needle forward on this issue.
  • Listen to your fellow humans and to the ones who are hurting and demanding change. This is not your story, you are here to listen and give a supporting hand to this movement.
  • Educate yourself on the movement and understand why you're marching.
  • Mentally prepare yourself, protesting is not only physically taxing but emotionally draining. Prepare yourself for what you may experience and understand any discomfort you experience is a fraction of what people of colour experience every single day.
  • Understand your rights and read up on your local, state and national laws around freedom of speech, your civil rights, protesting and public health restrictions.

How you show up

Protesting should be a peaceful event for all attendees, however, as we have all seen it is not always the case. So it is best to be prepared than be caught out. You need to stay safe to continue the conversation for Black Lives Matter tomorrow. How you show up is important.

  • Travel light and with easily disposable items. Bring a drawstring bag or tote. A bag you won't miss if it's lost.
  • Bring what you need for the day, water, light snacks, minor medical supplies, cash and debit cards, ID, portable chargers, physical contact details (a notebook with key contracts), face masks, hand sanitizer, suitable clothing, walking shoes and a burner phone or personal phone.
  • If the worst-case scenario arises you want to ensure you are armed with information to help you. Write your primary contacts on your body, somewhere that you can easily see, along with any legal advice organisations or best case, your lawyer’s number (if you have one on the dial). You want to have this information on you if you run into issues.
  • Bring your signs, voice and kindness. Showing up means the most but also showing up with kindness can help a little more.

Keep public health top of mind

There are going to be thousands of people who argue against the  current Black Lives Matter protest, labelling them a breach to public health laws currently in place. This position is bullshit. Obviously the movement should capture this momentum as it will hopefully lead to real change. So as we hit the streets and lend our voice to the Black Lives Matter movement and also listen to the stories from people of colour, we need to keep the current health crisis in mind. Let's not give the opposing side any more ammunition.

  • Do your best to keep to social distancing when protesting.
  • Clean your hands with sanitizer regularly
  • Always wear a face mask and wash reusable masks overnight if you are protesting back to back.
  • Wear gloves to protect yourself.
  • If you're sick or feeling ill, stay home and avoid any contact with others.

We all have a social responsibility in this pivotal moment of change. Not only for black lives in America but for all people of colour across the world who have experienced discrimination on mass.

If you can't make it to protest, show up by donating, educating yourself, sharing information online, calling out discrimination and listening to the stories of people who have experienced racism for generations. We can protest and be safe throughout, world health crisis or not we all need to demand change.

The following are resource to follow and donate:


Street Noise

How can we all protest for Black Lives Matter and navigate Covid-19 safely