On this mini-episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You, Anney and Samantha provide a basic protesting primer for anyone who may be new to taking the streets and demanding change. Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality have been going on steadily all over the country for a month, and show no signs of abating. Here are some basic tips to keep yourself and others as safe as possible while you exercise your right to assembly. Anney and Samantha first stress the importance of doing your research. Information about demonstrations, rallies, and marches is all over the Internet, and not all of it can be trusted. Make sure you know that a reliable organization is putting the event together, so you don’t end up in a sticky situation surrounded by bad actors.
Besides that, it’s important to prepare yourself with as much information as possible. Is there a curfew in effect? How are you planning to get home? Make sure you know when public transit will be available or where it would be safe to park your car. Inform a friend or family member about where you’re going and when you plan to return. Learn about what settings to disable on your cell phone to scramble trackers and keep the police from accessing information stored on it. Many people are filming or live-streaming protests as a way to keep law enforcement accountable, but be sure you’re blurring faces so protestors around you can’t be identified. Look up tips about what to wear and bring to protests, as well – wearing a face mask is essential, but there are other tips about protest wear that could be helpful. Most of all, if you’re white or a non-black person of color, remember that “this is not about you,” Anney says. “You’re not the leader – you’re a guest. So make sure you are following and listening.”
Not everyone can take to the streets right now – you may be feeling sick, living with a health condition, or living with someone else who has a health condition, making it inadvisable for you to join a large crowd, face masks or no. Fortunately, you can join the fight from home. Donating, for example, to various bail funds, legal funds, victims’ families’ GoFundMes, or nonprofits like Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, or the ACLU, is a great way to help. You can also provide snacks and water to protestors or post reliable information about where they’re most needed. And you can email or call your legislators anytime, and sign online petitions, to put pressure on lawmakers to address these concerns. Finally, work on yourself! There are a lot of resources on anti-racism work; look them up and start reading and learning so you can be part of the solution. In short, resisting can happen on the street and it can happen on your couch. However you take part, “be safe,” Anney says, “take care of each other, and take care of yourself.” Hear more useful Protesting 101 tips on this episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You.
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