June 4, 2020
By Melissa Matthews
People in every state are protesting the death of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police. You may want to support the Black Lives Matter movement but feel conflicted about protesting. Public health officials say the large gatherings will lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases, and some peaceful protests have turned violent.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine your own levels of risk in terms of safety. However, there are ways you can assist protestors and speak out against racism without physically attending a protest.
Donate to a bail fund
Bail funds pay to free people from jail, including protestors, and also work to eliminate the bail system, which is unfair to the poor. Check out The National Bail Fund Network, a directory of bail funds by state, for a group in your community.
Donate money and supplies to street medics
These volunteers provide basic medical services to people who are injured during protests. Members typically include people with basic first aid training, doctors, nurses, and firefighters. You can look for a street medic group in your area by visiting Paper Revolution.
Make your home a safe space
The Hang Your Heart Project asks people to put a green heart on their doors to signify it’s a safe place for any person of color in need. Amanda Marcotte created the project at the end of May and hopes the community grows across the United States.
In 2018, a 53-year old Michigan man shot at a 14-year-old teen who knocked on his door and asked for directions. The teen was uninjured, but this story, as well as so many others, highlights the importance of safe spaces.
Offer resources to protestors
Consider creating packages with snacks, water, hand sanitizer, and face masks, for protestors. You can physically drop them off at protest sites or give them to a friend who is participating. You can also donate money to local organizations or organizers who will create and distribute supplies in their area. Use Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Facebook to find advocacy groups that can connect you with protest organizers.
Join an online protest
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center is hosting a live-stream protest at 7 p.m. EST every night until June 8. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., joins the virtual protest to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality and encourages viewers to petition against excessive police force.