HOW DO WE PUBLICLY DEMONSTRATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS?

SOCIAL JUSTICE
Some issues demand that we be out there visibly demonstrating, safely and at an appropriate social distance. What are the appropriate ways of engaging in public protests during COVID-19 pandemic?

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What are the appropriate ways of engaging in public protests during COVID-19 pandemic?

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Two times in the last week, last Sunday and yesterday, I have taken part in public outside demonstrations in northern New Jersey, an area which is right now one of the most impacted COVID-19 locations in the country.

I have done so even though I believe strongly that, during these pandemic times, it is essential to wash your hands often, observe social distancing, stay at home as much as possible, take Vitamin C and other vitamins and eat well to strengthen immune systems, etc.

What were these two demonstrations?

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“Some issues demand that we be out there visibly demonstrating, safely and at an appropriate social distance.”
Photo: YouTube

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It is important to demonstrate publicly and visibly on critical issues! Like everyone else, much of my political (and other) work these days is done via phone and zoom conference calls, texting, internet and social media. I helped to organize a virtual rally via zoom on the issue of fossil fuel divestment on Wednesday that was well-attended and successful.

But the fact is that movements for social change need to be on-the-street visible if they are going to grow and be effective, and I would say that these car demonstrations, done correctly, are a way we can do so for the next months until it is safe to go back to our usual demonstrating and direct action tactics.

Another way that seems safe to me that I haven’t done yet would be for a group of people to organize into two-person teams, each making and holding a banner at least six feet long with the appropriate messaging. These teams could stand along a busy street or highway at intervals of 50 or more feet, or they could spread around a number of blocks of an area appropriate to the issue. For example, at the two-car demonstrations I was part of, there could have been several of these two-person teams holding banners in front of the detention centers.

I expect that some people will have problems with one or both of these tactics right now. I understand and appreciate that. But based upon these two experiences, I have little question but that they are pandemic-appropriate, if well organized. Like anything, if not done well, they could be problematic, but it seems to me that there are issues that just can’t wait for the months that it may be before the pandemic is defeated. Some issues demand that we be out there visibly demonstrating, safely and at an appropriate social distance.

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