• Youth Energy Squad

Responses to COVID-19 and Protests Stemming from the Murder of George Floyd




Context:

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health crisis has killed over 100,000 Americans and has disproportionately impacted African-American communities. In Michigan, African Americans make up 40% of the total COVID-19 deaths even though they only make up 14% of the state’s population. Detroit has been especially hard hit during the pandemic and you can read more about that here. While states issued their own stay at home orders and public health mandates, there were not consistent mandates or rules issued by the federal government. Additionally, cities and states did not initiate curfews to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and enforcement of Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order by law enforcement has been sporadic.


Black Americans are simultaneously facing another public health crisis: racism. The murder of George Floyd by a member of the Minneapolis Police Department has ignited protests in all 50 states and all over the world. Tragically, these protests and the murderous events that often cause them are not new. Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Breonna Taylor are just a few of the many whose lives have been unjustly taken. Over 30 states (and the District of Columbia) have activated the National Guard and almost 80 cities have imposed a curfew to effectively make these protests illegal.




Goals: Age Group:

  • Compare and contrast the US Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests



Supplies: Time: 1 Hour

  • The internet 

  • Critical Thinking






Instructions:

Read this article on the U.S. Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/25/us-coronavirus-timeline-trump-cases-deaths




Now, read this brief article on COVID-19 protests in Lansing:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/30/michigan-protests-coronavirus-lockdown-armed-capitol


Read this article on Detroit Police Department’s response to Black Lives Matter/Justice for George Floyd Protests:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/05/31/detroit-protests-police-curfew-sunday/5301174002/


Finally, read this article regarding the use of the National Guard and curfews to respond to the protests of George Floyd’s murder: https://abcnews.go.com/US/locations-george-floyd-protests-curfews-national-guard-deployments/story?id=70997568





Reflection Questions:

  • Do you think that the U.S. federal government’s response to COVID-19 has been appropriate? Why or why not?


  • Do you think that the federal and state governments have responded appropriately to the Black Lives Matter/Justice for George Floyd protests? Why or why not?


  • Why do you think there was a different response to the Stay Home, Stay Safe protests at the capitol in Lansing compared to the Black Lives Matter/Justice for George Floyd protests? Is this fair? Why or why not?


  • Do you think that 17,000 National Guard troops being deployed to respond to “civil unrest” (Black Lives Matter/Justice for George Floyd protests) is appropriate? Is it an appropriate use of resources? Why or why not?


  • Do you think that curfews, like Detroit’s 8 pm curfew, protects residents? Why or why not?


  • Do you feel as though an early curfew restricts people's rights of assembly and free speech? Do you think this is right? Why or why not?

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