social distancing protests

People in Canada need to stop complaining about Black Lives Matter protesters not social distancing

Protests and demonstrations have broken out across the country and all over the world in recent days, as people from all walks of life continue to fight back against the anti-Black racism that remains rampant in society to this very day. 

The individual protests that haven taken place in provinces across Canada have drawn crowds of thousands, prompting many to point out how incredible it is to see so many residents from across the country united against an issue that has led to countless Black lives lost.

Unfortunately, George Floyd's murder — which was the tipping point that led to the start of these protests — happened during a pandemic. 

And we are still in the midst of that pandemic, so many have expressed valid concerns about the potential for COVID-19 to spread widely and quickly as a result of these demonstrations. 

But while it is legitimate to express worries about the need for protests to happen as safely as possible, some are evidently using this particular criticism as a way to hide behind their racism. 

"Can someone explain to me the reasoning behind allowing protest where people gather by the thousands in Toronto yet hair salons aren’t allowed to open yet?! Please! Don’t make sense! Where’s the social distancing?" wrote one Ontario resident on Twitter

Opinions like this have been rampant on social media in recent days, with many asking why protests are allowed to take place when trivial things, such as being able to get a manicure or have a backyard party with friends, are not.

But the fact of the matter is, anti-Black racism is a matter of life and death.

COVID-19 is also a matter of life and death, and both are as timely and urgent as ever. 

But while it's true that we are in the midst of a global health crisis, the issue of racism simply cannot wait. 

Many that have attended protests have explicitly stated this over and over, and some have even gone so far as to say that they are willing to die for the cause

Those who think the lack of social distancing at protests is the biggest problem we're facing right now are showing their bias by claiming to care more about the virus than the lives lost as a result of racial injustices, and many of them are culprits of breaking those very social distancing rules in their own lives. 

Canadian public health officials, whose jobs it is to keep residents safe amid this pandemic, have not discouraged protesters from gathering right now, as they too appear to understand the urgency of this issue. 

They have, however, released guidelines to help protesters march as safely as possible, and many of those suggestions are being adhered to. 

Photos and videos from various protests across the country show demonstrators wearing masks, wearing gloves, passing out sanitizer and doing their best to physically distance.

And photos from some of the smaller protests show activists effectively maintaining a safe distance from one another. 

On top of that, protests take place outside in the open air, and health officials have clearly stated that the virus doesn't spread nearly as quickly outdoors. 

So if your main concern continues to be whether or not protestors are social distancing as they demand racial justice and equality, it's probably time to take a look at yourself, your priorities and your beliefs. 

Do you really value your right to a haircut more than a Black person's right to live?

Lead photo by

George Talusan

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