Socially Distant Social Movements

Never Again Action project image of Anne Frank in downtown Boston. Photo credit: never_again_action Instagram

By Charles DeLange, age 12

Activists have found new ways, or gone back to older ways, to fight for their causes during the coronavirus pandemic. Many protesters and people want to keep their communities interactive, even if people are spaced at least six feet apart. This looks like people in cars using their horns and voices to get attention for their cause, coming together online, or vocalizing from their windows and balconies: distant from each other but still in public.

Many protests are taking place online, creating petitions for unemployed workers, support for essential workers, or supporting reproductive rights. Lots of websites are being created to organize people and give out information. Survived and Punished, based in New York, created a fundraiser to get hygiene products to people in jail. 

In Spain, citizens held a “cacerolazo” protest, where people protested by beating cooking pots. “The applause is for those who take care of us. The pans are for the corruption money to go to our health system,” Más País, a leftist movement in Madrid, said in a tweet. Some, in fear of damaging their pots and pans, downloaded the sound of it on their phones, said CityLab, “[creating] a noisy protest where everybody bashes a saucepan in unison.”

The Never Again Action group in New Jersey, according to a Vice article, supported freeing ICE detainees by projecting a picture of Anne Frank on the side of government buildings, reminding anyone who sees them that “Anne Frank died of an infectious disease in a detention center.” This protest was perfect for the times — visual, effective, digital and socially distant.

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