Health Matters@UNT | Tips to Stay Safe and Well While Protesting

We all are frustrated and looking for ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement in whatever capacity we can. Some people support by joining the protests, some support by signing and sharing petitions, others support by donating to different victim memorial funds, bail funds, community restoration funds or legal defense funds. It’s important to know that everyone has their own personal way of supporting this human rights movement and that what works for some might not work for others. 
If you do decide to peacefully protest, the staff at the Student Health and Wellness Center suggest that you plan ahead and take precautions to keep yourself and others safe and well:
What to do:
Plan ahead for essential needs and supplies. If you aren’t going to be familiar with your surroundings, get a map and study the streets and important landmarks. Be sure to go with a friend or a group of friends and plan out how you will re-contact each other if you get separated. Mentally prepare yourself to stay calm and collected if the situation escalates – be aware of your surroundings.
What to bring:
It is very important that you stay hydrated and wear sunscreen! You may be doing a lot of walking in potentially burning heat, so bring a bottle of water with you. You can also use it to wash your skin and eyes. Do not forget to bring energy snacks like granola bars or trail mix, alongside with enough cash for a pay phone, food, and transportation. Have your identification card on you at all times and write down the contact information of your emergency contact on either a piece of paper or on your arms. Make sure you bring any necessary medications, such as prescription medications, an inhaler, EpiPen, or insulin. It is important you go prepared for all possible outcomes. Bring a basic first aid kit, personal hygiene items if needed, wet wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer.
What to wear:
Non-vaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a mask. It’s very important that you not only protect yourself but also others around you! Wear comfortable and protective shoes. Make sure your clothes cover all of your skin to protect you from the sun and potential tear gas or pepper spray.
These are a few of the steps you can take to ensure your safety and the safety of your fellow protesters. In addition to these, remember to practice social distancing where you can and minimize the risk of a possible exposure to COVID-19 by not touching your face and sanitizing your hands multiple times throughout the day. When you get home from the protest, we recommend that you change into clean clothes and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Be safe while being a part of the movement!
Metti Girma Temesgen
Peer Health Educator
Student Health and Wellness Center