Direct Action Toolkit

Aqua background with lighter aqua sunburst stripes in upper left and lower right corners. Black and red text says “let’s talk about DIRECT ACTION for pandemic justice.” In the lower right corner is a Long COVID Justice logo.

About this toolkit

Below are a number of resources for designing and implementing direct action. We’ve taken special care to include resources that specifically address accessibility needs and organizing in the time of COVID-19. This is a living toolkit that will be periodically updated.

We know disabled and chronically ill people have always come up with creative ways of resisting, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list.  We encourage people to continue to expand what it means to take direct action!

Long COVID Justice is in a long lineage of justice movements using direct action. Direct action can range from distribution of vital supplies – like masks and COVID tests – needed in our communities, to confrontational actions like protests, to non-violent civil disobedience drawing attention to or blocking injustice.

Long COVID Justice was founded, in part, by longtime HIV activists living with Long COVID, who have seen direct action win the policies and resources to turn around an almost universally fatal condition for millions worldwide, in a movement that continues to push for the rights and lives of people living with, or at risk of, HIV. And we honor the lineage and power of the disability justice movement – named and shaped by disabled and chronically ill Black and Brown LGBTQ people – which recognizes it takes more than theoretical legal rights to overcome entrenched ableism, racism, gender bias and the drive for profits.

Direct action efforts can and should span a range of access needs! We’ve helped to develop a spectrum of tactics that deepen collaboration between those who can be onsite and others who help from a distance, or from our beds.

Following the inspiring and effective models of HIV activism, LGBTQ+ movements, disability justice movements and more, we invite you to let us know if you or your loved ones can join direct action in person or online.

If you’re interested in designing your own direct action, please make use of the toolkit below. Then let us know how it went by emailing [email protected] or tagging us @longcovidnetwk on twitter or @longcovidjustice on instagram.

Special thanks to Beautiful Trouble for being such a great resource to share.

Long COVID Justice Direct Action Toolkit

Introduction to Direct Action

Beautiful Trouble – Direct Action theory 

Getting started

Pandemics Are Chronic – Long COVID Justice

These are the principles that guide us and call us to action in the fight for Long COVID justice.

Direct Action Strategy Guide – The Ruckus Society

Checklist for planning & evaluating actions – Beautiful Trouble
Use this “action star” tool to devise a strategic action that moves forward your campaign. Who is your audience? Your target? What are your points of intervention? These and other questions will help you frame your action within the larger context of the campaign, and make sure it’s as impactful as possible.

Points of intervention – Beautiful Trouble

This tool will help you identify points of intervention where your action may be most impactful.

Power Mapping – Beautiful Trouble

Use this tool to identify who the target of your action should be.

Creating more accessible actions

People’s CDC
People’s CDC offers a number of COVID-specific resources, including how to hold safer in-person gatherings.

26 Ways To Be In the Struggle Beyond the Streets – Disability Visibility Project

A list that is designed to celebrate all the ways that our communities can engage in liberation. This list was created by and for those in our communities who can’t be in the streets, and includes concrete ways that we can and do support liberation every day. 

Inclusion in the Time of COVID – Strategies for High Impact & What Would An HIV Doula Do?

This toolkit, created by our parent org Strategies for High Impact, offers things to consider and actions to take to make your meetings and actions accessible to those who are immunocompromised, chronically ill, and/or disabled in this COVID era.

Digital Tactics for Direct Action – Organizing 2.0
In this training video, you’ll learn ways to implement powerful and effective digital direct actions during a pandemic. 

Keep Masks in Healthcare Toolkit – COVID Advocacy Initiative/Mandate Masks US and COVID Safe Campus
This toolkit offers a number of accessibility resources as well as digital and hybrid action ideas.

Ability Access/Disability Inclusion Checklist for Marches and Rallies – Action Network
This checklist is a great list to consider when you are designing your action

How to Make Your Social Justice Events Accessible to the Disability Community: A Checklist – Rooted in Rights

Another accessibility checklist with different framing that you may find helpful when planning your action. 

Keeping Each Other Safe When Virtually Organizing Mutual Aid – Electronic Frontier Foundation
Considerations for data security and safety for digital organizing around mutual aid or other projects.

Action Ideas

Civil disobedience 


Public filibuster 


Mass street action

Creative petition delivery

Creative disruption 


Banner hang 

Examples of direct actions on COVID & Long COVID and Associated Diseases (LCAD)

Millions Missing Demonstration at the National Mall

Keep Masks in Healthcare Week of Action
Mask distribution at social justice rally (Climate Justice Committee MN)

Examples of direct actions:

ADA Capitol Crawl

The ACT UP Historical Archive: Political Funerals
List of health-related mutual aid projects (Big Door Brigade’s Mutual Aid Toolbox)

Films to check out:

Crip Camp

United in Anger

How to Survive a Plague

Have a resource to suggest? Write [email protected].