5 Ways to Provide Aid to Protestors If You Can’t Get Into the Streets Right Now

While watching the worldwide protests demanding justice for the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, James Scurlock, and so many unnamed individuals, you should be wondering what you can do to help out. This fight is one we all need to play a role in — so, where are your efforts most useful right now? 

For anyone that is outraged, I’d encourage you to transform that anger into action by calling lawmakers, signing petitions, donating money, and supporting Black-owned businesses. If you feel compelled to take to the streets, make sure to defer to Black organizers too. 

Over the past week, peaceful demonstrators have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets, and hundreds have been arrested around the country — all on top of a pandemic. If you’re not comfortable joining a protest yourself, that’s okay. There are multiple (and essential) ways to support those who are putting their health and safety on the line. 

Distribute essentials kits and make supply runs.

If you have the means, you might consider picking up some extra supplies ahead of protests in your area, because providing basics is one way to help support the cause, even if you don’t feel like you can join in yourself. 

“Over the weekend, a group of friends and I got together and packed survival kits to hand out to protestors marching in Boston,” says Sonya, a senior at Boston University. “Those of us with cars made ourselves available for supply runs too, so we could replenish any of the products and essentials people were running out of that they needed on the line.” 

Common items protestors need most right now include:

  • Water, preferably with a squirt cap
  • Snacks
  • Clean face masks or bandanas
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Cold packs
  • Sunscreen 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Menstrual supplies
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Cash 

Provide transportation. 

Roads and public transportation can easily get blocked during protests. “We need supporters available that can move,” Sonya notes. 

If you have a car, you can help your people by offering to drop them at meeting points and pick them up when the protest is over or if things go south.

Offer to be an emergency contact. 

If you have friends, family or neighbors who are protesting, offer to be their emergency contact in the case of arrest or a medical emergency. Give your phone number to them to write in permanent marker on their skin. While they’re out, keep your phone near you with the volume on until they say they're at home safe.

If they do get arrested or hurt, commit to coordinating their release and helping out — because you’ll be their phone call. Before they leave, make sure to get their personal info (including legal name, date of birth, other emergency contacts, and medications) so that if there’s an emergency, you’ll have all the necessary information. It will be your job to notify their contacts, get them linked to bail funds if necessary, and also arrange transportation.

In addition to being an emergency contact, Jenna, a junior at Cal Poly SLO says that it’s just as important to check in on friends throughout the day. “I make my friends text me when they arrive and when they get home. If something happens and I don’t hear from them for a few hours, that’s my signal something unsafe might be happening,” she explains.  

Support your people when they get home. 

Fighting against anti-Black police brutality takes physical and mental strength. When your friends and family come home, they’re going to need you to be there — to talk it out, to order food, to let them cry. Listen to what they need, and then act accordingly.

Donate, donate, donate. 

There are many resources that would benefit from your donation. If you have the means, here are a list of starting points: 

The fight against oppression defines the world we live in, and it’s imperative that we stand in solidarity with the Black community. This is just a short list of ways to help right now, but know that in order to change structural racism we must listen to, support, and amplify Black voices long-term. 

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