Black Lives Matter Protests Were Acceptable Social Gatherings

Police officer watching Black Lives Matter protest start things on fire
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Police officer watching Black Lives Matter protest start things on fire

During the pandemic, health experts strongly advised against certain actions, such as having students in classrooms, attending religious services in person, visiting sick relatives in hospitals, and participating in large public gatherings.

When conservative anti-lockdown protesters gathered at state capitols around the country in April and May, these experts accordingly criticized their irresponsible, large-scale gatherings, and predicted that their actions would lead to a surge in new infections.

However, following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25, a massive protest movement erupted across the country, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets. In a marked shift, over 1,300 public health officials expressed their support for the protests in a letter, and many participated in them.

Many people were left questioning whether their advice during the pandemic was sound after seeing such a turnabout. One minute they were condemning any large-scale group activity, and the next they completely signed off on the activity, if they supported the cause.

The letter that was signed took a firm stance and dismissed their colleagues who didn’t agree, stating that the country faced a clear moral decision and that they must support the right of these protesters, despite potential risks of spreading the coronavirus. They drew a distinction between the anti-lockdown protestors and Black Lives Matter protesters.

The letter asserted that individuals who protested stay-at-home orders on the steps of their state capitol buildings were motivated by white nationalism. Conversely, they declared that those protesting systemic racism needed to be supported. These public health advocates did not regard these second type of gatherings as too high-risk for COVID-19 spreading, but rather, they endorsed them as crucial to national public health. They reasoned that African Americans being killed by police was more a danger to their lives than contracting COVID-19 at a rally.

While there was no real data that showed either the anti-lockdown protests or the Black Lives Matter protests led to any spikes in cases, it was interesting to see some in the scientific community expose their true motives. The science didn’t really matter quite as much as their political ideologies.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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