#SWAAYthenarrative
7 Min Read
Politics

If you are able to or interested in participating in the current protests happening across the United States, there are many things you can do to make the process safer for yourself and your peers.

Particularly, if you are a white person going into these protests, know that you are there to support and protect Black people and other People of Color who are at a far greater risk than you are while participating. Even if that means forming a human barrier between the police and PoC — yes, that happened. And yes, it worked. But it won't always happen, so be wary of your privilege and wield it wisely if you are a white person attending these protests. Black and PoC community organizers know what they are doing, so remember that as a white person you are there as a guest and an ally. Follow their lead. But first, you have to make sure you're coming prepared.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez recently posted a helpful resource for protestors, and we've expanded this list based upon her post as well as other sources found primarily via social media. Most mainstream media sources are not sharing enough information to help aid in the current protests. In our efforts to gather effective resources to share with our SWAAY community, we've found that the most helpful content is being readily shared on social media. If you are interested in finding more information, we recommend skipping the fruitless Google search and going straight to community organizers on social media — primarily Instagram and Twitter. Below, you'll find our list of recommendations as well as explanations behind each. Now is the time to stay informed, share information, and stand up for what's right.

What To Wear

  • Goggles — To both protect your eyes from physical and chemical harm.
  • Masks — To restrict the exchange of possibly infected droplets and project again chemical harm.
  • Comfortable, nondescript clothing — To allow for maximum motion, minimal exposure, and a lack of identifiable characteristics. It is also recommended that protestors cover up any significant or easily identifiable tattoos to reduce the risk of identification and targeting.
  • Heat-resistant Gloves — Pandemics don't stop for protests, wearing gloves is important as a method of infection-control, however, heat-resistant gloves are helpful in protests as they won't melt when coming in contact with heated objects due to fire.
  • Emergency Contacts/Allergies Written Down — In case you become injured and incapacitated it is important to write down potential emergency contacts and any allergies you may have — particularly allergies to any medications if you may need medical attention while unable to respond.
  • Hair Ties — Tie your hair back to assure it won't restrict your vision and tuck it away if possible. You want to restrict any possible opportunity for police and other violence-inciters to grab or pull you away.
  • Non-oil-based Sunscreen — You always want to protect your skin from the sun, but in the case of protesting avoid oil-based sunscreen, because oils will lock-in the toxins from tear gas and exacerbate its negative effects.

What To Bring

  • Water Bottles With A Squirt Top — Both to stay hydrated and to use in case of tear gas. The squirt top is specifically important because the added force helps to clean out irritants from gassed ocular cavities.
  • Snacks — Chances are, you're planning to be out there for a few hours at least, and you don't know what might delay you, so keep yourself nourished.
  • Cash/Change — Both in case of emergency, but specifically in case you need to make a quick exit. Public transportation, whenever possible is recommended, but do not use Credit/Debit cards to pay otherwise authorities may be able to track your location and activity.
  • ID — Even if you are only participating in a ticketable offense, if police cannot confirm your identity they have the ability to put you in jail until they can confirm in.
  • First AID Supplies — Having a basic first AID kit could be a useful resource if violence breaks out and immediate medical is difficult to summon.
  • Change of Clothes (in a plastic bag) — If or when the police resort to using tear gas, that gas and its irritants will stick to your clothing, skin, and other orifices. You want a clean pair of clothes to change into and avoid compounding the irritation.
  • Protest Signs — Let your message be heard!

What NOT To Bring

  • Jewelry, Scarves, Or Other Easy-to-grab Clothing — You want to restrict the possibility of being grabbed or pulled. This includes wearing loose-fitted backpacks or side backs that may get caught or grabbed.
  • Contact Lenses — Contacts hold in toxins if the police use tear gas or other chemical dispersion methods.
    • IF you wear contacts and come in contact with tear gas, do NOT attempt to take them off yourself. Wash your eyes out with cold water and find someone with clean (non-gassed) hands who can remove them for you. Throw the contacts away after, there is no amount of Visine that can clean tear gas.
  • Any Illegal Materials — If you are attending a protest you are at a much higher risk of being arrested, so this is not the time to have any illegal materials on your person including weapons, drugs, etc.
  • A Cell Phone With Face/Touch ID — Cell phones can be used for location services and face identification, do not post about your location, do not do anything that may help identify you or the people around you. The safest thing to do is to turn on airplane mode and only use your phone for emergencies or to record and document when possible for others' safety.
    • If you post any photos after the fact, blur out the faces of any and all other protestors to avoid the likelihood of them getting ID'ed, arrested, or having that photo used as evidence against them at a later date.

What To Do

  • Come Prepared — If you think the above list is exhaustive, it really isn't. You never know what might happen, and it's better to be prepared — especially if you're protesting in a larger, more volatile city where the police or other outside instigators have been known to encourage violence.
  • Stick Together — Do not protest alone. Though adhering to social distancing practices is crucial, it may not be safe to go alone. You want to have someone who can check in on you and vice versa.
  • Adhere To Social Distancing Practices Whenever Possible — Keep to your buddies, but attempt to avoid touching and maintain distance whenever and however possible. When it's not possible, keep your mask on and do not touch your face.
  • White People: Know You Are A Guest And An Ally — Support, listen to, and protect the BIPOC around you at all costs, insert yourself between police and BIPOC for their safety whenever possible, be respectful of those around you, and know that you can use your privilege for good.
We recognize that many protests around the country have successfully been quite peaceful, particularly in smaller communities with less weaponized police forces. However, you never know when violence may become an issue, and it is best to be prepared. There have been multiple reports of far-right infiltrators and other white supremacists using these peaceful protests as a means to incite violence, encourage looting/rioting, and damage the reputation of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Additionally, there are multiple, filmed reports of police inciting violence without just cause at these otherwise peaceful protests or damaging property after the fact to make it appear as though protestors are attacking them and their property. These videos are being shared across social media platforms, but (once again) are being largely ignored by mainstream and legacy media platforms.

Please keep all of this in mind when you are going out to protest. Not just for your own safety, but to remain informed and to always remember the truth behind this movement. This isn't one problem that can be solved with one solution. This movement is the culmination of decades of violence, hatred, and abuse towards Black people supported by a system that is effectively designed to punish them and reduce their rights. (Reminder that the American police force as we know it is derived from slave patrols.) It has always been a time for action, but now more than ever it seems that we are reaching a precipice towards change.

Stay informed, stay safe, and never forget that you have a right to protest no matter who is trying to stop you.

Time-Saving Hacks That Will Help You Focus More on Growing Your Brand

Whether it's your child or your brand, there is nothing quite like the excitement you get when you see the fruits of your efforts grow. In the face of aversion, you must remain cool-minded and adaptable to remain effective. This can be quite stressful, and every minute counts. Alone, the responsibility can be overwhelming - wouldn't it be nice if things just ran themselves sometimes? Especially those things that we do mindlessly all the time, and seem to take up most of our time?

When you start a business, you soon come to realize that in order to grow your brand, you need to be extremely organized. And to be efficiently organized, it is imperative that you master the art of managing your time. The saying 'time is money' rings true when it comes to growth. This is why we're going to provide you with helpful tips that will allow you to save time so you can focus on growing your brand.

Use the Right Tools

Technology has changed the way we conduct our business with each other. Today, more than ever before, we have access to data which gives us clearer insight and vision, as well as better tools for productivity. However, as we all know, this is all conditional to your intent. As much as a smartphone can be a tool for productivity, it can also be a fantastic source of distraction and procrastination, which is directly detrimental to said productivity. Automation is an advantage that is available to almost everyone today when it would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.

Get Connected

When a brand is still young, the team is still close-knit and there isn't too much coordination necessary when it comes to keeping up to date and on top of work. Chat groups and video calls can do, as well as simple task-managing apps. But as you grow, your workflow becomes more complex and the volume of data generated by your company will very quickly become a logistical nightmare.

Telltale signs of data overwhelming are endless excel sheets, frantic Post-it notes all around the (real or digital) office, and relying on the consumer rather than business-oriented data storage and communications solutions. These have their limits, and investing in a holistic company-wide system will not be a waste.

Work More Effectively

Your workflow can be simplified into smaller tasks which follow each other in a sequence, which can have conditional elements to it. That's where automation comes in. If you can draw it in a flowchart, you can automate it. Tasks that would have taken days can be outsourced to a machine that will not only perform but also learn in the process.

There is now a myriad of online services for freelancers which essentially give them the productivity potential of a small firm. We're now at the point where bots at https://www.hellobonsai.com/contract-templates can generate custom templates for the documents your brand needs, replacing the need for a legal consultant to intervene. You just need to know what you want to automate, and what you want to make out of it. If you create a logical process from the inception of your brand, then the automation will be seamless, as all you will need to do is add more tasks.

Be Mobile and Flexible

Most of your coworkers and clients will probably already have a smartphone, or will soon. It is also very likely that beyond using these for leisure and social activities, they use them for work. It is now normal to switch off the heating in that apartment you've been renting out while you are on holiday because your AirBNB tenants are overusing it. Or to track the status of your latest food delivery while you are sitting on the toilet.

Consumers today are not only constantly on the move, but they are also increasingly data-focused. They will be looking for results and have the capabilities they need to research, analyze, and calculate what they deem necessary to ensure they will be making the right decision. They thus also expect the same in return, in the form of bespoke customer service that is both intelligent and responsive.

Simplify

Data is everywhere and is relatively easy to obtain. In a single click, you can generate a web analysis that will reveal more information about your blog or website than your doctor will ever tell you about your own body. Before diving into this ocean of data, take time to identify what is really important to you. Brainstorming is a great tool to really identify and prioritize what you and your team should be focusing on first. If you try to wage war on all fronts, then the chances of winning are slim.

With the right tools and the right method, you can save yourself quite a considerable amount of time. With both the agility and flexibility that data managing and automation software brings to the table, you will see an increase in your productivity. Careful planning is key, and if you focus on streamlining your workflow, you will be able to take your brand to the next level.