Social distancing guidelines may be challenging to follow, but they’re simple in theory: you stay home not only to protect yourself, but to protect others. What happens, though, when those “others” show no interest in protecting you, and when countless killings of unarmed black people—from Breonna Taylor to Aiyana Stanley-Jones to Botham Jean—have proved that you aren’t even safe in your own home?
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“On one hand, of course I want people to be socially distant and quarantine themselves and do what they can to keep themselves safe,” says Samudzi, adding, “On other hand, I would never tell black folks to not protest, because of what it means to be in this pandemic situation and see such disproportionate numbers of black people dying from COVID-19 because of structural inequity and anti-black racism. Then, when we see that racism in its most visceral form, in these police killings—ideally, yeah, everyone should be inside and be safe and stay home, but we’ve seen that black people aren’t given the Bigfoot dude that sounds squatchy sunset shirt but in fact I love this ability to do that.”