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Protesting in the time of COVID-19

By Tri Sanger (they/them/theirs)

(Too close for comfort. Photo credit: Diana M.)

Over the past few weeks, the people of the world have taken to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many other innocent Black people who have been murdered by police. Although I completely support the protests, and I’m thrilled that people are taking action, a huge part of me kept coming back to one thought: “What about Nonno? What about my grandpa?”


Three months ago, on March 21st, in Brusaporto, Italy, my grandfather died from COVID-19. He died alone in a hospital room, family unable to be with him due to how contagious the virus is. Back here, in Oregon, my great uncle contracted COVID-19, and thankfully has recovered, but it was a terrifying experience. We are in a worldwide pandemic, and it has complicated our current situation so, so much.


I don’t think the question of what we should be doing right now can be answered for everyone. Due to the pandemic, I think this question is an individual one. For the people who are immuno-compromised, or living with people who are, staying home and safe is important. For people with sensory processing issues, where going from staying at home for months to being in a crowd could end up being detrimental to their well being, staying home is important. And for those of us who have lost people close to us to COVID-19, I think that is a personal choice that I cannot make for them.


To anyone not able to take to the streets right now, you do not need to feel guilty. Get involved in other ways. There are socially distanced sign painting rallies to join. Donate, sign petitions, write emails to your representatives. Educate yourself. I see you, you are making the right choice for yourself. Stay safe, and do what you can, without endangering yourself or your loved ones.


We as activists, as people are obligated to do what’s right. And right now, whether that’s taking to the streets, or staying home is a complicated question. And I think, only you can make the right choice for your own situation. No matter what you do though, please wear masks, wash your hands before and after going anywhere, and do your best to maintain social distancing.

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