Pro-Equality Groups Issue Safety Tips for Protesters

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Photo by Emily April Allen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 15, 2020) – As LGBTQ+ events across the country are pivoting to join in solidarity with protests for racial justice, equality groups are issuing safety tips for those protesting peacefully. Among the tips are some basic guidelines to protect yourself from Coronavirus.

“Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, practice social distancing, bring and use hand sanitizer and evaluate the safest way to travel to the site,” Human Rights Campaign said in a posting on their website.

HRC went on to detail precautions protesters should take, and other things to bring for general safety, including water, milk of magnesia and towelettes in case of chemical irritants. 

The ACLU also weighed in on COVID-19 safety precautions on CNN.com.

“Pack light,” staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project Emerson Sykes said. “Bring water and a snack at minimum. If you bring a bag, prepare for it to be searched.”

In a pandemic, wearing a mask can keep you from breathing in droplets containing coronavirus, according to Sykes. He says coming in close contact with other protesters could expose you to their spit or sneezes, which may carry the coronavirus.

“If you fear you’ll be arrested and will need legal help, memorize or write on your arm the number to a local or national law organization that could assist you in getting out of jail and handling your case afterwards,” Sykes said.

Some of the organizations on the front lines protecting protester rights:

Black Lives Matter

ACLU

The Bail Project

National Lawyers Guild

Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund Network

The Associated Press tallies that more than 10,000 people have been arrested at protests in 140 major cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In addition to police violence, Coronavirus poses an additional threat to protesters. Nashville reverted back to Phase 2 of its reopening plan due to the highest number on record of COVID-19 cases in the city just this week.

This article has been supported by a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project for COVID-19 coverage.

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Brian Sullivan is a reporter for Out & About Nashville. He has served nearly 2 decades in the television industry, with over 20 years experience as a print and broadcast journalist. Sullivan is an Emmy Award Winning producer, writer, lobbyist, activist and marketing strategist. He is active in several campaigns raising awareness in addiction treatment, equality and mental healthcare. He received recognition as a Nashville Emerging Leader of the Year at the NELA Awards. He is an Executive Board Member of the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, a member of DrugFree Wilco, the Williamson County Anti-Drug Coalition, the Memphis Area Prevention Alliance, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Facing Addiction, Fed Up!, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Music City Theatre Company, LGBTQI Nashvillians of Faith, Covenant of the Cross Ministries, Human Rights Campaign, HRC Nashville, Team Friendly Tennessee, Tennessee Equality Project, Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Wilson County Anti-Drug Coalition, National Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Filmmakers Guild and is an ordained Minister. Sullivan is a proud donor of the Memphis Hope House, Nashville Cares, Covenant Cupboard Food Pantry, and Second Harvest Food Bank. He has worked extensively on projects with several major networks including Fox News Network, CNN, Time Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, Inside Edition and Mic.

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