In response to COVID-19, numerous public health and national security measures are being proposed and implemented across the nation. While necessary to protect our communities and health care systems, we must be vigilant and resist authoritarian and violent tendencies by the state. As an abolitionist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist organization, the National Lawyers Guild recognizes that the constitutional civil liberties framework is deeply flawed, intended to uphold capitalism, and enforced inconsistently. Historically, states of emergency, mandatory quarantines, and curfews have often been used to expand state control over political and civil freedom. Emergency powers often criminalize movement, freedom of expression, protest, and marginalized communities. Nevertheless, it is important that we know what rights exist to protect ourselves and resist increased policing.
We believe that we can build safer communities and respond to COVID-19 without expanding the police or medical surveillance. Please read and share this guide, Know Your Rights During COVID-19, written by Pooja Gehi, Gabriel Arkles, Che Johnson-Long, and Ejeris Dixon and supported by the NLG and Vision Change Win.