Just Emergencies Episode 11: Covid-19 and Political Resistance

BLM Protestors wearing Facemasks

In Episode 11 of Just Emergencies, Assistant Professor Meena Krishnamurthy discusses Political Resistance in the time of Covid-19.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a wave of anti-racist protests sweep across the United States and the world. People have also been taking to the streets to protest Covid-19 goverment measures and policies which they perceive to be an unjustified restriction on their liberty.

In this episode, Prof. Krishnamurthy talks about whether or not there is an obligation to participate in protests during a pandemic, how structural racism relates to the Covid-19 pandemic and the inequitable health outcomes we seen between ethnic groups, and the moral difference between anti-racist and anti-Covid protests.

So I think one of the things that we see when we think about Covid and people that are protesting… yes, race and police brutality seem to be the trigger. But in the moment of Covid, it’s drawing our attention to these broader structural processes that are contributing to the disproportionate impact of Covid on people of colour, particularly Black, Latino, and Indigenous Americans.

Furthermore, she argues that engaging in protests is something that needs to be habituated and encultured. Covid-19, in this sense, has given people a unique context in which they have time for self-reflection and to participate in protests.

To find out more, listen the full episode and or read the complete episode transcripts.

Links and Further Resources

Meena Krishnamurthy

D.R. Fisher, ‘The diversity of the recent Black Lives Matter protests is a good sign for racial equity‘, (Brookings, 8 July 2020).

R. Oppel and others, ‘The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus‘, The New York Times (05 July 2020).

N. Deo, ‘How Covid-19 Lockdowns Contributed to Black Lives Matter Protests‘, (Mischiefs of Action, 30 June 2020). 

L. Aratani, ‘How did face masks become a political issue in America?‘, The Guardian (29 June 2020).

A. Jha, ‘Why protests aren’t as dangerous for spreading coronavirus as you might think‘, The Guardian (18 June 2020). 

S. Palus, ‘Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue‘, (Slate, 02 June 2020).

M. Nienaber and M. Chambers, ‘Germans stage protests against lockdown measures, social distancing rules‘, (Reuters, 16 May 2020).

L. Beckett, ‘Armed protesters demonstrate against Covid-19 lockdown at Michigan capitol‘, The Guardian (30 April 2020).


‘Just Emergencies’ is produced and edited by Rebecca Richards and made with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Our intro song is ‘The sun comes up, I come down’ by Silicon Transmitter.

Our outro song is ‘Surge and Swell’ by Pictures of the Floating World.

Both are available under an Attribution-Noncommerical-ShareAlike3.0 Creative Commons License from Free Music Archive.

Image by Tony Zhen on Unsplash.