Yes, step forward with our protest sign, join demonstrations, and educate our society that racism must end! In this way you honor George Floyd and all past victims of racism, and we act to prevent future deaths from this disease. The change requires our society to see people of all cultures, classes, and generations saying the racism that oppresses, exploits, and denies African Americans and many other people of color the right to health, livelihood, and life must end!
Participate in your local demonstrations, yet do so in a proactive way that honors your life and that of others. It is the Era of the Virus and we need to be community in way that protects each other’s health. Already, it is a fact that the virus is debilitating and killing more Blacks, Latinos, and working-class people. Let’s not add to the numbers.
Proact and prepare for the demonstration. Organize your demonstration kit to include your mask, gloves, goggles, water container, sanitizer, baggie with baking soda, emergency contact information, and cash you might need for food or transportation. These tools will protect your and others from the virus, and also from a potential tear gas attack. A water and baking soda solution is ideal for washing eyes and face if you find yourself the victim of tear gas. Also, wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants are advisable to minimize skin exposure to the gas.
Because this is a big opportunity to educate, bring signage that expresses your outrage and commitment, and also educates and speaks to our vision—respect and justice for all! Dozens of times, I optimized my impact at protests by carrying a colorful sign with a message to educate and inform. The sign would be captured by news cameras or serve to inspire the folks around me. Given the virus, the less shouting we do, the less risk of spraying out potential dangerous droplets of the virus. For this reason, I also included in my demonstration kit colored pens with heavy stock paper to develop and pass out other impactful messages inspired by the demonstration.
Yes, demonstrate today, with the realization that we must also prepare for the follow-up work to study, inform, organize, and vote. White folks and people of color need to do more study to understand how racism becomes institutionalized to perpetuate injustice. Racism is behind the reason why thousands of people of color are being called essential workers, yet denied worker benefits and are, again, being treated as third-class citizens here to die in service of the dominant culture. Ultimately, we need to create a host of changes in business and government policies and practices that requires us to join advocacy organizations, recruit more numbers, and vote for the people who are committed to the cultural and system changes necessary to ensure respect and safety for African Americans and all others who suffer from historical racism and injustice.