Protesting in a pandemic: For many in L.A., the cause outweighs the health risks

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A girl jumps holding a sign that reads "Justice Now!" while she and her family protest in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

A girl jumps holding a sign that reads “Justice Now!” while she and her family protest in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

For months, Hasani Sinclair said he has been painstakingly cautious about avoiding the threat of the coronavirus. He wears a mask. He follows health guidelines. He has repeatedly gotten tested, even without knowing of any direct exposure.

But the drumbeat of black deaths in the news propelled him to the Fairfax district on Saturday, joining the crowds that protested police brutality and bore signs with the names that rang in his brain: George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery.

“I cannot in good conscience let this moment pass me by,” said Sinclair, a 38-year-old high school history teacher. For black men like him, police brutality “has been a silent cause of death for years and years and years.”

The collision of long-standing anger over such killings and the newer threat of the COVID-19 pandemic have become a joint crisis in Los Angeles and across the country. The coronavirus has been especially devastating to black communities, with black people making up a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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