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A To Z Guide To Protesting

Romario Conrado
Romario Conrado Student, UC Berkeley
Romario is in his early 20's and enjoys swimming as well as reading first-person political narratives.
Black women protesters, A to Z Guide to Protesting

There are a lot of new terms and concepts flying around. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know them all. Here’s a handy tip sheet. 


Check out this guide for tips and definitions on things you might hear and see at protests.


A as in Antifa, an anti-fascist political movement of autonomous groups that use militant tactics to fight extreme right-wing viewpoints. 


B as in Black Lives Matter, an organization and popular hashtag committed to the uplifting of Black people, was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.


C as in Counterprotest, groupings, or individuals who show up to protests to express their disagreement.


D as in Don’t record others without permission, a growing courtesy at protests since there have been strange and untimely deaths of participants during the Ferguson protests — many believing it was retaliation. Some worry law enforcement may also use facial recognition software.


E as in Extrajudicial killing, the official definition of when an officer kills a citizen before any legal or judicial proceedings. 

F as in Freedom Rider, the term used for a 1960s civil rights activist who would boycott or protest segregated bus terminals.


G as in “Get a friend to go with you,” advice often given when preparing for a protest.


H as in “Have a mask on.” The Coronavirus is still around. Confirmed cases are up in 21 states. 


I as in the Insurrection Act of 1807, an American code that gives the president the authority to deploy active military troops to maintain or restore peace.


J as in Journalists, many of whom are reporting from the front lines of protests. A popular poll found that Americans' trust in the media is at an all-time low of 41%.


K as in Keep a number on your arm, a number you can call in case you are detained — preferably an organization that bails out protestors.


L as in Looting, the act of breaking into buildings with the purpose to steal in the midst of protests and riots.


M as in March, not to be confused with the month, a collection of individuals who walk together to make a statement. The right to peacefully protest with a group is guaranteed in the First Amendment. 


N as in National Guard, the forces used to quell domestic unrest if law enforcement is unable to.


O as in “Opt-out of uncomfortable situations.” Protests can be intimidating at times and be sure to constantly check in with yourself if you’re not feeling comfortable.


P as in Police, the primary forces used when there are mass gatherings. As a result of recent protests, there is a call to defund police departments and re-allocate that money to social services. 


Q as in “Question your intentions.” This advice means to think about why you are attending a protest and what you do with photos and videos you take there. Some have criticized those who take selfies at protests, saying they aren’t amplifying the voices of Black Americans. 


R as in Riot, the civil disorder of a group lashing out at police, people, or property.


S as in Sit-in, the tactic of organizing a group of people to occupy a room or building to make a statement. In recent protests, people have been kneeling rather than sitting as a demonstration of opposition to police brutality. 

T as in Teargas, a chemical weapon banned on the battlefield but used by police on domestic crowds.


U as in Uprising, the act of resistance or rebellion to attain or reform power.


V as in Violence. Police in Minneapolis used force against Black people at seven times the rate of White People. 


W as in Water, something you need to bring a lot of to a protest. 


X as in Xenophobia, a dislike of people from certain countries. 


Y as in “You need comfy shoes to protest.” 


Z as in “Get your Zzz’s before you protest” to ensure maximum energy levels and mental clarity.

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