As the protests across the country show no signs of stopping, more and more people are taking to the streets to speak out against the police brutality occurring in the United States. The protests for Black Lives Moment have sparked demand for change and reform across the world. As these protests continue, it’s important to understand how to stay safe and protest effectively. Many of us have marched for many social justice issues over the last decade, but it is always good to remind ourselves of tips for staying safe!

Protestors need to be aware of what to do to ensure that they can make their voices heard in the fight for change. If you are planning on attending a protest, here’s a list of simple do’s and don’ts to guarantee that you and the people around you can stay safe. 


Plan ahead- Tell people where you’re going, and when you expect to be back by. Know how to get assistance if trouble occurs. Bring a buddy and stick together the whole time, and always keep an eye on your surroundings for people who are hurt and need help at the protest. Before you go out, check in with yourself following PERLY: 

Physical vulnerabilities and how to stay comfy and safe.

Emotional vulnerabilities and how to bring yourself back up or back down. 

Role, what role are you taking in your group, with your buddy, at the rally. 

Loose ends- make sure they’re planned for: work, kids, elderly, pets. 

Yes or no. Are you still down for this action? If your values don’t align with others in your group, is there a way to compromise or can you find someone else to go with?

Bring a bag/backpack- It’s important to keep your hands free during a protest. To avoid having to carry around other necessities, make sure to obtain a small bag or backpack to carry around the essentials. If you don’t have a bag or backpack, a fanny pack works just as well. Have a fresh set of clothes if pepper-sprayed and a plastic bag to put the contaminated clothes in.

Wear a mask- The threat of COVID-19 is far from over, and it’s easier to spread in large groups. Keep yourself and the people around you safe by wearing a mask all the time and maintaining 6ft of proper distance. It is summer, and it can get hot while wearing a mask, so opt for a cotton mask for more breathability and less heat. Add a filter to the mask if possible.

Bring water and snacks- Most of the protests you attend will include a march that will most likely be taking place in the sweltering heat. It’s important to listen to your body and make sure you’re staying properly hydrated to avoid any health complications. It’s essential to bring protein-rich snacks as well, as these protests are usually long with few breaks. Considering bringing energy bars or nuts to the protests. 

Wear comfortable shoes- You’ll be on your feet for a large portion of the day, so wearing shoes that won’t give you blisters or hinder your walking capabilities is essential. You should be able to walk and run in the shoes you’re wearing. And try to wear neutral clothing so you are not easily picked out of a crowd as a target or there or while making your way home.

Continually do personal check-ins during the protest– Use HALT: are you feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.

Remember why you are there, listen to Black leaders and use your body to keep them safe and your voice to amplify theirs.


Wear Contact Lenses- If the protests do turn violent and tear gas or pepper spray is used, contacts will trap these materials more than usual. Opt for glasses if possible, or if it’s necessary to wear contacts, wear sunglasses as well. Even consider opting for goggles.

Protest Alone- Meet up and stick together with people for the whole protest. This is to make sure that everyone stays safe and is looked after. If it’s possible, establish roles in your group. One person can carry a First Aid kit, while another can be in charge of driving. 

Make the Protest about You- Especially if you’re white, acknowledge that this protest is about showing support and solidarity for the Black community. It is not your time to speak; it is the time to help elevate Black voices. 

Protesting can be complicated, and it’s always difficult to know what the safest and best decisions are. The best things you can do are be aware of your surroundings, listen to your body and mind for what you need, and do the research on what you’re protesting. Fight for the causes you believe in and help make important voices heard. Protests have always been a way to incite change in America, and Black Lives Matter is a cause worth fighting for and is essential in the movement for climate justice. 


While it’s essential that people fight and protest for this cause, it’s also important to consider the emotional toll this issue can take on a person. Though that’s not an excuse to stop fighting, people should also understand that it’s important to prioritize one’s mental health in the midst of all of this as well. Here are a couple of self-care tips that you can easily incorporate into your life right now. 

Get at least eight hours of sleep- Taking the time to reset after a long day is essential for a clear and healthy mind. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep to ensure that you can be alert at the protests. 

Put your phone on airplane mode- Disconnecting from the media and the internet right now, even for a short while, can be an opportunity for a much-needed break. It’s essential to keep yourself educated on the current issues, but sometimes it’s okay to take a break. 

Meditate- Even taking three minutes out of your day to take some deep breaths can help ease the stress and anxiety in your life. There are several free apps you can download to help take you through guided meditations at any level of intensity you want. 

Go on a walk- Getting outside can help clear your mind and take some time to reflect. Try to hike in nature or somewhere less dense with people. Take a minute to appreciate your surroundings and try to slow down. 

Read a book- Purchase a book you’ve been excited about reading. Escaping from the internet and taking your mind off things is essential. 

After protests, think about what you’ve learned and experienced. Take time to debrief and map out your next steps. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and make sure the people you care about are as well. Check-in on them and be willing to have an open and honest dialogue with people about the events happening in the world right now. Stand up for what you believe in and continue to protest and make real change. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay passionate. 

If you are looking for ways to be more involved with other social justice organizations, look into your local groups, here are a few examples: 



Abolish ICE

Denver Action Medic Network

Pro Tip: Get WFR certified if you want to start training to be a street med. And don’t forget how important it is to stay aware and if you are not able to be on the front lines, the behind the scene stuff is just as necessary: organizing, calling representatives, emailing, signing petitions and sharing them, voting and donating!