BLACK LIVES MATTER: HOW TO PROTEST FROM HOME
There are Black Lives Matter protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which acted as a tipping point following the recent senseless killings of other Black people. Protesters are seeking equal treatment by law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as to draw attention to unprecedented and disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
Because of safety issues – whether it be concern about COVID-19 or small bouts of violence amid the largely peaceful crowds – some people may be uncomfortable going out to a protest or rally. There are a myriad of things you can do from the safety of your home in Menomonee Falls or elsewhere to show your support for civil rights.
1. Support Your Black Friends
Your black and brown friends may be experiencing many emotions, including pain. Offer to be whoever they need you to be right now. However, don’t assume they have an opinion on the movement or are interested in joining the fight.
2. Attend a Virtual Protest
Some organizations and local communities are opting to plan a virtual protest. This can be done by gathering a group together on Zoom or another video chat app. You can organize a group of people to send a tweet at the same time to specific people that have the power to create change from the top. These mass tweets would fill up their inbox hopefully inciting a response.
The recent BLACKOUT TUESDAY action is an example of a virtual protest.
3. Sign Petitions
Many petitions are asking for signatures to show support for the movement and hold those in power accountable for change.
Here is a list of a few petitions being circulated by supporters and activists.
Justice for Breonna Taylor: Breonna Taylor was an EMT, who worked at two hospitals as an essential worker during the pandemic. The Louisville Police Department performed an unannounced drug raid at the wrong house, shooting Breonna 8 times, killing her. The person they were looking for had already been arrested earlier in the day.
Justice for Ahmaud Arbery: Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run. He was chased and gunned down under the pretense of witnessing a burglary.
#JusticeForFloyd: George Floyd died handcuffed, face down on the ground when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. This petition will be delivered to Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman. (Change.org)
#JusticeForFloyd: This petition will also be delivvered to Mayor Jacob Frey and County Attorney Michael Freeman. (MoveOn)
Coronavirus: Demand More from the Government: Provide emergency food and shelter to all homeless and poor. Provide a protection and testing plan for incarcerated people while in custody and upon release. Expand SNAP and unemployment for the duration of the pandemic. Immediately legislate fully paid sick leave for all workers. Implement an immediate moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs. Emergency funding for family and community-based childcare for families who cannot work from home.
Demand Racial Data on Coronavirus: In order to protect ourselves and those we love, we need the government to collect and release demographic data on the coronavirus. Also, the CDC must aggregate and release data to provide the Black community with information and resources targeted to our needs.
You can file or sign an existing petition at http://petitions.whitehouse.gov, but foreign and domestic disinformation and misinformation campaigns turned the White House petition system into a home for insane conspiracy theories.
4. Speak Up
Stand up against injustice and for police reform to everyone you know, including your coworkers, friends, family members, and on social media. Put your money, time, and effort into advancing what you believe in.
5. Offer to be an Emergency Contact
You will probably have a friend or two planning on physically protesting. Ask them if they need an emergency contact. Make sure you have their full legal name and date of birth, address, phone numbers, the contact information for a family member (preferably, someone local), and who they will be with at the protest.
Check on them every so often so you are aware of their whereabouts. Know the numbers for central booking, local precincts, and local hospitals. Put this all on a single sheet of paper or at least in a central location. That way, if something happens you can spring into action immediately and completely.
They should also have your phone number written down on their arm with a permanent marker just in case.
6. Pay for Ride-sharing and Public Transit
The cost of going to a Black Lives Matter protest adds up fast. Share your transit card, Venmo your friend to cover their Uber, gas for the car, or bus fare.
7. Provide Childcare
Gift parents on the front lines with free childcare for their children or donate the costs to hire a babysitter.
8. Make Sure Anyone Attending has these Essentials
9. Donate Supplies
If you can afford it, look into donating supplies for Black Lives Matter protesters. Here are some ideas:
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid equipment
- Water bottles
- Food and snacks
10. Pay Bail
There is a risk your friend might be arrested for civil disobedience. However, you can offer to pay bail for them. If they planned ahead and retained a lawyer, call them if necessary. Contact the National Lawyers Guild to find an attorney if they don’t have one.
NLG operates the Mass Defense Committee (MDC), a network of lawyers, legal workers, and law students providing legal support for political activists, protesters, and movements for social change including Black Lives Matter.
Wisconsin’s chapter is based in Madison and you can reach it directly at (608) 520-0654.
If you do not have friends planning to physically protest, donate to one of these bail funds: