The opportunity to join protests is becoming more accessible these days, from numerous Black Lives Matter protests to the record-breaking Women’s March. Young people are beginning to feel more inspired to speak out about their personal beliefs, and these organized gatherings are great way to make your voice heard! Going to these events can be a little scary at first, so here are some tips to help make your first time a total breeze!
1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going. Before you head out to a protest, let other people know where you’ll be. Recent protests have taken horrifying turns, which have created high-stress moments for those desperately trying to figure out if their loved ones have been injured. Make sure you let someone know in advance about where you’re going, and try to text them updates while you’re there.
2. Turn On Your Location Services. This will save your ass if you get separated from the group. Trying to find people in a crowd can be a draining hassle, but technology can ease the process. Not only will it help you find your friends, but it will also enable them to find you. To do this, simply go to your phone’s settings > privacy > location services. Then open Google Maps and send your friend a map of your location.
3. Come Prepared. Protests are generally outside, so make sure to check the weather that day. Before you leave, ask yourself if you need extra layers, a rain jacket, mitts, a beanie? Bring some granola bars and a water bottle to make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty. Make sure your phone is fully charged in case you get lost or need to reach someone. When you take care of yourself first, you’ll be better able to support others.
4. Remember What You’re There For. Taking pictures for your various social media accounts (or whatever organization you’re there representing) is a great way to get the word out about the cause you’re supporting. However, don’t go to a protest just to rack up on likes. Too many pictures can challenge the legitimacy of the protest by making it seem like it’s an Instagram meetup. Feel free to document the experience, but trust yourself when you begin to feel like you’re beginning to lose sight of the cause.
5. Protesting Doesn’t Mean Fighting. There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether or not it’s okay for people to punch Nazis. This isn’t that debate: What matters in this case is to remember that in order to protest you don’t have to fight anyone. Shouting at a random stranger on the street may be your thing, but it if it’s not, remember that you don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Standing in solidarity is enough.