The one thing I wish the world outside of activism would understand is that a protest is a microcosm of a great many things. There is rage, joy, sadness and a collective sense of justice present. But, also there are people with medical conditions. People with chronic illnesses. I mean, even people that wear contacts and glasses! Think of a street medic as a medic in the time of war or an active battle. They are able to assess, do basic first aid, and take care of various wounds.
From my experiences, street medics normally have a backpack or pack they carry with an insignia on it which identifies them as a medic. Often, these folk have some sort or medical training (anywhere from a CNA, Paramedics/EMTs, or nurses or med students). In the time we are in now, especially with the government playing GI JOE and COBRA with all of us, *street medics are needed (Note: Remember your scope of practice, only do what you can–and research if your particular state has The Good Samaritan Law).
But if this something that you are interest in doing, it is best to do with a group of people, on a secured communication app (NOT SOCIAL MEDIA! REPEATING: NOT SOCIAL MEDIA!) and this person should also have access to personal information for people in said group. Why? Law enforcement are less likely to arrest medics. Medics should have access to basic first aid, and know how to assist when people have been tear gassed (Pro-tip: Keep Milk of Magnesia in your kit or milk; contact solution; eye wash).
You will thank me later.
This brings me to the need for safe houses. As I have said before, I have grown up in St. Louis. I have seen how law enforcement and the federal arm or law enforcement conspire together to hurt and harm its citizenry. I am the first to admit I wish I would have done more during the unrest in Ferguson after Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered. To this day, 6 years later, I believe I didn’t do enough. The one thing I am proud of is–at the time—the church my (then) husband and I had was a safe house. Now, I know the idea of a safe house conjures up the idea of cartels and other dope-selling activities.
But, for activists? Safe houses are places you can go to hide from the police when they are doing mass arrests; somewhere to plan and regroup; a place of safety if someone is really hurt. Making the decision to be a safe house is not easy—and it shouldn’t be! There are and will be risks associated with doing this type of radical services for the activists. The easier thing, the most beneficial thing is to have this place be accessible to a few people (especially the medics!), and there can even be a rotation of safe house (this works as well)!
In the current climate, the best–the most ideal–place is a church or any other house of worship. For as crazy as these times are, I have yet to see law enforcement desecrate a church/house of worship with chemical agents or breaking down a front door! I hope we never get there–but with Orange Foolish as POTUS? Anything might happen. Take these things to heart, Torches. They may save lives, prevent injury and keep someone from dying in police custody. And this, right here, is our reality–daily.
Be safe out there.