There's a lot of protesting right now.
Still, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and pulbic health experts all agree we need to continue to avoid large gatherings, wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from each other as the COVID-19 surge roars on.
Dr. John Card of Novant Health Adult Primary Care Harper Hill in Winston-Salem offers the following advice for protecting yourself and others at protests. There’s also smart tips for making your voice heard while you follow public health advice by staying home.
If you go …
Should you choose to attend demonstrations and marches, follow these guidelines to minimize risk.
- Go with a friend – or several. Stick together.
- Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth. Consider wearing construction-grade goggles, too.
- Bring your own water and hand sanitizer.
- Ideally, you should self-quarantine for 14 days after being part of a crowd. Avoid contact with anyone in a high-risk group, such as people with compromised immune systems and seniors.
At this time, we ask anyone who would like to be tested for COVID-19 to: take our online assessment at NovantHealth.org/coronavirus, call our 24/7 helpline at 877-9NOVANT or speak with your provider to determine the best course of action. We will help direct you to the best location for testing, as clinically necessary.
Taking a stand…from home
There are things you can do from home to make your voice heard. A few examples:
Contact your elected representatives
Call, email or Tweet to demand action. Or all three. If one of your representatives happens to be up for re-election, he or she may be more willing than usual to consider other views.
Specifically, protest art. Get out your colored markers and make posters, banners, signs. Display your sign in your front yard or front window or give it to someone attending a protest.
Some of the most creative slogans on signs are going viral, so they really can have a big impact.
Many local and national organizations are doing powerful work in the battle for equality and social justice. Find the ones that appeal to you and support them if you can.
Be a smart consumer
If you have a choice about where to buy something, support the company that’s donating a portion of the sales price to a nonprofit you admire. Every purchase you make at smile.amazon.com can benefit a charity of your choosing. All you have to do is indicate what charity you want your purchases to benefit.
Know from whom you’re buying. Are you buying from companies that share your values? Amazon recently announced a $10 million gift to the NAACP, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, among other organizations that support education and justice for black communities. Check company websites to see if they’ve taken a public stance on racial injustice.
Publicize protest news in your networks
Even if you choose not to attend, you can spread the word about organized marches through your social media networks. Just verify that the protest is legitimate before sharing.
Protestors may need supplies (masks, water, first-aid kits). A well-organized protest may even have drop-off points around town for you to take your supply kits.
You don’t have to be physically present at a protest to have an impact. There are ways to help from a safe distance. And if you’re in a high-risk group, the safest place to be during a pandemic and a protest is at home.
Register and vote
And finally: Vote. It’s one of the most effective steps you can take to make your voice heard.