If you’ve been out to a protest in the last year, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “say their names.” People all across the country are taking to the streets to have their voices heard about police violence.
If you want to stay safe at a protest, here are quick and easy tips that you can follow.
Before you head out to an action, make sure you know what the plan is.
You should know where the protest is taking place as well as the route for any potential marches. This involves knowing the layout of the neighborhood the protest is taking place in. Also make sure to know the groups that are organizing the event and what their goals are. Reaching out to these groups ahead of time can help you find a role to play if you are new to activism.
Go With Friends
If you can help it, avoid going alone to a protest. While we all hope that things will go by easily, that is often not the case. Being with friends or people you can trust will make this whole process that much safer.
Make sure to talk with your friends or group ahead of time to establish things like check-ins, meeting places if you get separated, and what actions your group is comfortable taking part in.
What You Should Bring With
You can think of a protest as a hike with a political goal. You’re going to want to dress for the weather and make sure to bring water and a light snack. You should also make sure your phone is sufficiently charged to be out for the day as that could be your lifeline as well as a way to document potential police abuse. You can bring a “say their names” banner or poster, but you can also likely find groups who are handing out their own.
Remember to pack light, stay calm, and stay connected with your group and you’ll be ready to handle whatever comes your way.
When Things Get Rough
Know your boundaries. If things are getting rougher than you are ready to experience, it’s okay to head home for the day.
If you are injured or hit with tear gas, look for a medic in the crowd. Even small protests in equally small cities tend to have a few nurses acting as medics for the protestors. Avoid wearing jewelry and using lotions like Vaseline as they can cause tear gas to stick closer to the skin.
When things get chaotic, the best thing you can do is connect with your friends and stay calm as you work towards your exit plan.
Staying informed is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Do your homework on your protest and you’ll be ready to have your voice heard!