Chicago organizers celebrating on Oct. 5, 2018 after ex-Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty in the murder of Laquan McDonald | Photo by Carolina Sanchez [The TRiiBE]

Within the past 24 hours, Black folks around the world witnessed a televised revolution taking place in Minneapolis. Local organizers wanted justice after Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of 46-year-old George Floyd, who was arrested on May 25 after a grocery store accused Floyd of trying to use a $20 counterfeit bill and called police. 

After eight minutes of whispering “I can’t breathe,” Floyd died. Another Black death at the hands of police was captured on video and shared on social media — and, for the upteenth time, the police officers weren’t arrested and the Black community felt they’d receive no justice. (Editor’s note: At press time Friday afternoon, ex-police officer Chavin had been arrested).

That’s why on Thursday night, organizers in Minneapolis took over the Third Police District, which later went up in flames. That’s why on Thursday night organizers in Louisville made makeshift barricades to protect themselves from the tear gas, rubber bullets and batons flung at them by law enforcement dressed in tactical gear. There, Black folks were still feeling the open wound of Officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove after killing 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, an EMT, while she was sleeping in her home in March. Even though organizers did their best to protect themselves, seven people still were shot Thursday night — one in critical condition, according to Louisville Courier Journal

With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading and disproportionately impacting African Americans, local activists are asking Chicagoans not to travel to Minneapolis or Louisville to protest. Instead, they’re asking Chicagoans to safely support organizers in Minneapolis and Louisville by protesting at home and donating to organizers on the ground.  

“We are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Charlene Carruthers, founding National Director of Chicago-based Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), a youth organization focused on police accountability. She spoke with activists in Minnesota, who told her to encourage people not to travel to the state unless they’re offering a specific skill. 

“Large groups of people not only put individuals in the situation at risk, it places our loved ones at risk when we go back home,” she said. “In Minneapolis, just as it is in Chicago, Black communities are being hit pretty hard by COVID-19.”

In Minneapolis, African Americans currently make up 35% of the city’s 2,919 COVID-19 cases and in Louisville, Black folks make up 31% of the city’s 2,485 COVID-19 cases. In Chicago, Black people currently represent 31% of the city’s 44,160 total COVID-19 cases and 45% of the city’s 2,052 total COVID-19 deaths. 

Trina Trill, 27, is a Chicago resident and squad member with BYP 100. Although time has passed since COVID-19 cases first ramped up across the U.S. in March, she said, Black folks still need to remember the dangers of COVID-19 while protesting in various movements for Black lives. 

“If you’re going out tomorrow, make sure you’re wearing a mask at all times,” said Trill, who doesn’t use her real name out of concern for her safety. “Don’t take off your masks to speak into a megaphone or yell. If you can, wear some glasses, too, so that you won’t be tempted to touch your eyes. Make sure you’re social distancing as much as possible.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), coronavirus is airborne and spreads from person to person when respiratory droplets make close contact from sneezing or coughing. Trill believes that protests are necessary now because in her line of work, she’s witnessed injustice of Black people by the hands of white police officers. 

“If we continue along this route around policing, then Chicago can very easily become the next Minneapolis because of the many injustices that have been done year by year,” said Trill.

Here is a list of ways that Chicagoans can safely stand in solidarity this weekend:

Upcoming protests in Chicago

Day: Saturday, May 30, 2020

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Who: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR), Black Lives Matter, Innocent Demand Justice, Centro Sin Fronteras and more

What: National Day of Action Protests Against Racist Murder

Where: Contingent 1: Meet-up at 3045 W 26th Street at 12:45 p.m. and proceed to Cook County Jail and the Juvenile Detention Center, before meeting up Federal Plaza at 2:00 p.m.

Contingent 2: Meet up at 125 E 26th Street at 1:00 p.m. and proceed to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, before meeting up at Federal Plaza by 2:00 p.m.

*Please contact us at with details about other protests happening in Chicago.

Organizations accepting donations

Minnesota Freedom Fund: A community-based nonprofit that combats the harms of incarceration. Donate here

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: A fundraiser created by Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. Donate here

Black Visions Collective: An organization dedicated to Black liberation and to collective liberation. Donate here. 

Reclaim the Block: A group that organizes the Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city to promote community health and safety. Donate here. 

Unicorn Riot: A nonprofit left-wing media collective known for reporting on far-right organizations and racial and economic injustices across the country. Donate here.

Louisville Community Bail Fund – Action Network: A community organization that provides bail money and post-release for residents to get from jail and transition to a safe environment. Donate here.

Tips to safely protest during COVID-19

* Plan ahead for essential needs and supplies. You don’t always know what to expect during a protest, so be prepared with masks, face coverings, gloves and shatter-resistant goggles, if possible.

* Bring water, snacks, emergency money, a basic first aid kit and any medical supplies you may need, including inhalers, insulin and prescription medication. Have an ID on you and have a safety plan in the case you are arrested and need to be bailed out. 

* Avoid the use of oils and lotions in the case of dealing with tear gas. Oils and lotions can trap tear gas chemicals and prolong your exposure.

* Make sure your clothing protects your entire body. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a hat to protect from weather conditions and chemical weapons. 

* Understand your rights. Law enforcement must allow for a peaceful public assembly. Remember that you also have a right to medical assistance during protest. If arrested, you have the right to be told why you’re being arrested. If your rights are at any point violated, you have the right to file a complaint and receive necessary information to do so. Contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Chicago at 312-201-9740, ACLU-Minnesota at 651-645-4097 and ACLU-Louisville at 502-581-1181 for information on lawyers and legal assistance.