Here’s how to respond when Black Lives Matters protesters march, fire flares, and disrupt your local Starbucks: 1.
Protesters don’t have any clear or unambiguous demands, but if you are in the vicinity of one, you might want to take a few moments to think about how you might react to the actions being taken in your community.
It’s important to recognize that some of these actions are entirely nonviolent, but some of them have been used in a very violent manner by the police.
You might want to avoid confrontation.
“A lot of these protesters are violent.
They don’t want to put themselves in danger.
So, you’re going to be seeing a lot of police using physical force,” says Doreen St. Pierre, an activist with Black Lives Organizing for Change, an organization that works to promote Black Lives.
“If you have a few minutes to think, ‘OK, this might be an opportunity to make this less likely to happen again,’ and then get your mind off it and move on, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Keep calm and listen.
You might be tempted to respond with a simple “thank you” or “thank the heck you’re here.”
But if you’re at a protest or event where there is a chance of violence, you’ll want to listen carefully and take some steps to avoid the situation.
“You can’t just say, ‘Okay, let’s get out of here,’ ” St. Peter says.
“We have to get this situation under control.”
“You want to keep your distance from the situation,” says St. Charles.
Be respectful. “
You don’t need to say anything or do anything.
Just try not to disturb the peaceful demonstration.
They’re just asking for us to do our jobs,” St. Francis says. “
They’re not asking for violence.
They’re just asking for us to do our jobs,” St. Francis says.
And if the protest seems too violent, try to keep a calm, professional demeanor.
“It’s hard to say you’re sorry if you get punched in the face,” Stoll says.
You’re not obligated to apologize, but it’s important that you keep your composure.
“I would say, you know, I’m just being polite,” Stoller says.