It seems like coronavirus (COVID-19) has been around forever now. Life before masks and with public sporting events is a distant memory, hoping to make a comeback sometime this year. We've all had to make some sort of life changes to abide by this pandemic's rules. But that doesn't mean everything has stopped. On May 25, George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking a cry for justice and racial equality across the nation.
For the last week, protests have taken place in major cities like New York City, LA, DC, Chicago, Phoenix, Portland, Dallas, and Floyd's hometown of Minneapolis. Many of the cities experiencing protests have begun phased reopening, while others (specifically New York City and LA) have yet to begin phase one of post-coronavirus reopening.
As COVID-19 is hardly in our rearview mirror, there are extra precautions protestors can take as they advocate for justice.
1. Wear a face covering
We all know that Americans have grown to feel very strongly about wearing face masks, but public health is still a factor that we have to consider. Bring a comfortable, well-fitted face mask to whatever protest you attend, as you'll be surrounded by many more people than were included in your quarantine.
2. Bring a water bottle
It's officially summer in many states, meaning that your long walk might be a hot one. Bringing a water bottle is a must — you don't necessarily know how long your protest will last, and your body (that has been sitting on the couch for the last three months) is going to be walking/chanting for most of it. Stay hydrated.
3. Pick your protest buddy wisely
It's true that there's safety in numbers, especially in a protest. You should not attend a protest alone — pick a buddy that is reliable, safe, and will be equally conscious of what's going on around you, whether that is in regard to public health or general alertness. Ideally, buddy up with someone you've been quarantined with, so you can both return to the same destination once your protest is done.
4. Wear a hat
Due to curfews across some U.S. cities, many protests are taking place earlier in the day. This means you have a good chance of being out while the sun is still shining bright. Wear a hat to provide some shade and avoid burning, and make sure you're wearing sunscreen.
5. Bring a small bag filled with only helpful necessities
You should not be carrying a big backpack or tote with you as you protest — don't draw attention to yourself, it's not about you. Big bags are also heavy and can become a hassle as protests go longer. Instead, bring a small day bag or fanny pack that's filled with essentials like a snack and your keys.
6. Don't forget hand sanitizer
You'll probably find yourself holding hands with a stranger at some point during a protest. This is beautiful — it also spreads germs. Don't forget your hand sanitizer!
7. Prepare yourself before you go
Before you attend a protest, make sure you've eaten a good meal, hydrated, gotten some rest, used the bathroom, and called someone to let them know where you will be. A protest is a fantastic means of standing up for a cause you believe in, but that doesn't mean you can always get up and go! Take the necessary steps to prepare yourself, both physically and mentally.