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Being Apart of an Uprising

Tips for being included and being safe during protest, in person and online. Was originally posted in June 2020.

There has been talking and memes about how 2020 has been full of surprising disasters. People were looking forward to going out and experiencing things they otherwise would put off. For some, this was going to be the year they got their lives moving towards their goals.

The horrific treatment of black people at the will of police officials is no event. In 2020, many people had their eyes opened or refused to be silent in the wake of the many deaths of black people at the hands of police officers. People are demanding to invest in what allows our communities to thrive. The high volume of protest has cast a light on all of our fights to shift the status quo.

Almost overnight, people of all ages, races, and genders have begun to protest these wrongdoings. Not just in the United States. The UK, Canada, and East Asia have held protests. Germany's rally on June 6th has become the largest attended outside of the US. Across Germany, the number of protesters was in the hundred of thousand, according to ABC News.

While the number of protesters rises, so does the number of arrested protesters. According to The Guardian, over 10,000 people have been arrested in the US since the anti-racism protest.

People are being shot with rubber bullets, pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed, and beaten. Police are dressed like they're ready for war. Yet, protesting continues. We are living in a movement, an uprising, a time of reckoning. Like any good uprising, be prepared. You want to make it to the end safely.

Here are some tips and actions to take with you as we go forward in a movement.

When going to a protest, try to go in groups.

With your group, have a meet-up spot should you get separated. Set a leave time if someone in your group has to leave sooner or a curfew in your area. If possible, do not let anyone leave alone.

Having a group not only shows how many people are supporting and showing up for the movement. It is also for safety and comfort. A protest can be an anxious place and could end up being dangerous. You never know who wants to be involved or are already planning. It would help if you asked around.

Plan for it to be a long day.

Bring water, snacks, good walking shoes, and a portable charger if possible. You never know what can happen before and after a protest. You'll be encompassed in like-minded energy. You may be drawn to someone's particular call to action.

There are also plenty of people who may take advantage of the circumstances. No matter how the day is expected, the last thing you want is to be hungry.

We are in the age of the coronavirus, along with allergies and flu season. Carry hand sanitizer and an extra mask if possible. If you feel sick, there are other ways to support a cause mentioned towards the end of this article.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

Write an emergency contact number on your arm, or somewhere the number won't be easily washed off. People are being arrested. Have a parent, a cousin, or someone that can bail you out on standby. Do not think it cannot happen to you. Include a number for a local or family lawyer.

With so many people and so many emotions, you just never know what could happen. Should you or someone you know to be arrested, take photos of any injuries sustained while in police custody.

Pepper spray is an oil-based substance. Should you be pepper-sprayed, please do your best not to rub it in. It will probably spread on its own. You want to wash your face and clothes as best you can, as quickly as you can.

Tear gas is just as unpleasant as pepper spray. However, it is a bit easier to rid your eyes of it. A thorough wash with cold water should work well. A water and baking soda mix is a good solution as well. Yet, it can also irritate the eyes. Choose what is best for you at the time.

Do not use any of this as a reason to escalate a situation. People are banning together because we are shown that there are police who do not care about protecting all people. They do not need a reason. Do not give them one.

Be aware of photos.

Try to ask before taking pictures of people with their signs at protests. If you plan to share those photos on social media, be sure to crop or photoshop individuals' faces. Try to avoid capturing faces at all as possible.

Having a password or code to unlock your phone versus facial recognition could help when a police officer asks to see evidence in your phone. While your intentions may be kind, photos have been used against those arrested or otherwise targeted by law enforcement.

Be willing to travel.

If there is protesting happening that is outside of your nearest community, try to attend. Protesting is a numbers game. It shows how many people stand in solidarity for a cause.

If it is no longer than an hour commute, go for it. We are fighting for change in our communities and the communities of others. Let's continue to show up and show love for people we do not know.

Here are some actions you can take outside of protesting.

Look to remain in contact.

Contacting groups that contact government officials, creating programs, or organizing protests is a way to stay informed and stay involved. When appropriate, it can be an excellent way to network. You can bring your skills and knowledge to a platform.

Join your local Black Lives Matter chapter.

There are BLM chapters all over the nation. BLM has even expanded beyond the US. Should there not be one in your community, look into joining one close to you. You can also see what it takes to start one for your immediate community.

Sign petitions for your cause.

Movement for Black Lives ( have petitions for the long-term change for blacks in America. has been a source for plenty of petitions that need people to sign. If you are involved in other grassroots organizations, look into who they may be supporting.

Social justice can be taken on from many angles. Petitions are flowing all around social media platforms as well and there is no limit to how many you can sign. When giving money, be sure to verify to who and where your money will be going. Look into starting your petitions or crowdfunding for injustices you want to take on personally.

Work to confront local government.

Are you a part of or interested in an environmental group, LGBTQ+ organization, or homelessness aid organization? Look into the government leaders they have been supporting. Many groups and organizations are already involved in anti-racism work.

You can gather your friends and write to your local congress. Before going to vote, putting the desirable candidates in the running is so important. When it is time to vote, go and vote for the bold leaders running for government offices.

Try decolonizing your media.

Diversifying the businesses you support on social media needs to continue. Don't let it end up as something for the moment. Support, and when possible, fund authors, filmmakers, doctors, farmers, artists, scientists, etc., to help change your social media algorithm. That algorithm is what allows platforms like Instagram to fill your explore page.

Quick actions like sharing a post to a friend, saving it, or commenting will all help to impact your content and social platforms agenda.

Most of the media we consume are white-based. Go the extra step to look into POC lead spaces. Help normalize celebrating and educating people on Juneteenth, Indigenous Peoples Day, and many others here in the US or beyond.

There is less tolerance of complacency and blind privilege. There are ways for everyone to do the work as we look forward to changes. Brown/Hispanic, Indigenous peoples, and Asian Americans are part of the movement. They are part of the conversation. None of us are in this alone. We chant no justice, no peace.

Tag @rxrzine on your protest photos and community social justice events.


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