Asma Mohammed felt an ache in her heart at not being able to participate in the nationwide protests against police brutality of black Americans last weekend. A Minnesota-based activist and community organizer, Mohammed wanted to hit the streets and march to demand justice for George Floyd and other black victims, but while the coronavirus is still rampant—and the possibility of unknowingly having it without any symptoms — the only option she had was to stay at home and stay safe from Covid-19.
“I have had a few breakdowns, because I can’t be out there with everyone. And I really want to be, because it’s important that non-black people show support,” Mohammed says. “But I can’t risk getting sick. There’s people in my household that are autoimmune-compromised, and I can’t put my family at risk.”
Although in May the FDA approved a Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program to help speed up testing to manage the virus, there are still no approved treatments to prevent or treat Covid-19.
Even so, activists like Mohammed aren’t allowing the pandemic to deter them from taking action. Instead, they’re turning to digital tools like social media to raise awareness, pass along information, and make demands to their local officials.
“Not everyone is a front-liner, and that’s OK because we need all types of people,” says Andréa Hudson, an activist and prison reformist based in North Carolina. “There are many ways people can help out from their homes, and we need people to do it. We need everyone to show up.”
How to Protest From Home
Support Bail Funds
A bail fund is an organization that collects money for the purpose of posting bail for those in jail on pretrial detention. Bail funds are used for a number of purposes, including freeing protestors who have been arrested or journalists detained in the course of reporting on the events.
The Community Justice Exchange lists a Directory of Community Bail Funds by state on its website, so you can contribute to one near you. ActBlue has a page that splits donations between bail funds in multiple cities here.
As Americans continue to demonstrate, police in some states and cities are gathering protesters and sending them to detention centers. Hudson, who is the director of the North Carolina Community Bail Fund of Durham, says that going to jail in the midst of Covid-19 can be a death sentence.
The CDC has strict guidelines for correctional and detention facilities during the pandemic, understanding that controlling the spread of infectious diseases in crowded, shared environments is difficult enough without potential introduction by staff members and new intakes, but many institutions are failing to protect their populations or, at best, struggling to adapt.
“You can’t socially distance yourself while being locked up. It’s not possible,” Hudson says. “We need to get folks out and at home. Yes, if you get the virus you can recover, but you can also die. That’s why it’s important that we free everyone. We all know for a fact that with Covid it can lead to death. No one deserves that death sentence.”
Donate to Organizations on the Ground
Donating money to organizations that serve to fight injustice and racism allows them to continue serving their missions. Here are a few:
Black Lives Matter is working for a world where black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.
Black Visions Collective (BLVC) believes in a future where all black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in the right relationship within our ecosystems.