The current state of the world is filled with both confusion and unrest. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, in addition to a battle with racial injustice and inequality. The heavily publicized death of George Floyd, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, has sparked global protests from both the Black community and our supporters. Though the pandemic came with a deadly force, it also shed light on the many steps that still need to be taken to move our country forward.
Rodd Monts is campaign outreach coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
As the Campaign Outreach Coordinator of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, I support the public protests that have taken place in communities across our state. In fact, I have participated in some and plan to do more. However, I have been concerned about protestors whose enthusiasm for racial justice may be jeopardizing their safety, and the health of those around them. This is personal for me, and very real. My dear friend, Orville Dale, the seventh person I know who died from the coronavirus, was buried in June. The pandemic is not over.
Every day, it seems, the number of COVID-19 cases reach a new peak. As the death toll keeps mounting, it should be clear that we all need to do everything we can to stop its spread, and the deaths it brings.
I am encouraging everyone, especially the protestors, to wear a mask when congregating. Black folks and other people of color need to be particularly vigilant. During the protests, demonstrators I see are usually standing too close together, which is an easy way to spread the virus. Remember to remain mindful of the suggestions given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and health care professionals, which include washing your hands, wearing a face mask and social distancing to the best of your ability.
While I realize that it is difficult to remain six feet away from others during a protest, it is imperative that you try. It is very possible that while you might feel fine and have no symptoms, you may still be a carrier of the disease. Asymptomatic persons harbor and spread the disease but do not suffer from its effects like others.
We are all in this together, both in the fight to stop the spread as well as the fight for human equality and justice. I want everyone to remain healthy, so that we can continue protesting for the change we have needed for far too long.