Initially, when protests began, Black Lives Matter Seattle–King County had a clear message: It was not organizing any of the demonstrations and protests in the city, because of concerns about Covid-19 transmission.
On Saturday, though, BLMSKC announced the Black Lives Matter Seattle Statewide Silent March and General Strike, on Friday, June 12. "We have already been put at risk. Anti-Blackness is a greater threat to our survival. Racism is its own pandemic. It’s killing us, and we are fighting to survive and thrive," the organization writes.
If you choose to strike or march, here’s what you should know.
When and Where
On Friday, June 12, protesters can gather at 1pm at Judkins Park in the Central District. The march starts at 2pm, heads down 23rd Avenue South, and ends at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill. Organizers estimate it’ll take about an hour and a half.
What to Do When Marching
All typical coronavirus conscientiousness applies: Stay home if you’re sick. Wear a mask. Stay six feet from people outside your household. If you’re going to touch anything, get out those gloves or hand sanitizer. Avoid public transit if possible. BLMSKC has a longer list of protest safety guidelines here.
This is, as its name suggests, a silent march. That’s so people can quietly grieve. Also, shouting increases the risk of Covid-19. Show up with a sign if you want to make a statement (just maybe leave the "silence is violence" one at home for this particular march).
Make a plan for getting home. If you live far away, maybe park your car halfway between the beginning and end of the march. (It’s about two miles total.) Organizers ask that crowds disperse immediately after closing remarks.
The city now recommends that anyone who’s recently attended a protest get a Covid-19 test. This past Friday, Seattle opened two free citywide testing sites where you can go even if you don't have symptoms: one in Northgate, the other in SoDo. They’re both drive-thru sites, so you need a car. You do not need insurance, and you do not need to tell them you were at a protest. You do need a photo ID. Though some drive-ups are let in, you should schedule an appointment ahead of time. They fill up quickly, so perhaps make one before you march. More info is available here. If you have symptoms or confirmed Covid-19 exposure, the city also has a number of free walk-up testing centers.
If you can’t march, BLMSKC asks that you don’t work on Friday and instead devote the time to “lasting structural change,” like learning more about local elected officials and how to best put pressure on them to do away with broken systems. If you plan to keep donating money, do research on which funds might best enact change. BLMSKC will be posting other ways to take action online on Friday. You can check its website and Facebook for more information.