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Friday, January 17, 2020

Activist Safety

Lets face it, Activism happens out of crisis. You can and must make sure whatever group or movement you are in cares about your safety. I know this sounds baffling to some people. It's true. I worked with several dozen national organizations in my early years of becoming an organizer. And, those organizations that did make member safety to and from events are the Best.

  1. Check-in with everyone or at least your main organizer to ensure they are at a location
  2.  Always UPDATE: Text them, and the group, where you when location is changed. ( and let them know you're going to a new location if it is a daylong protest) Many times, people loose interest in the group because they didn't meet up at 7AM and everyone moved on by 1PM to a new location.
  3. Don't expect everyone to have a sign, so make a few extra and bring them along.
    1.   Poster board with letter stencils and a permanent marker are a good start.
  4. DO Make sure everyone is OK. And assign at least 1 person to document in case an altercation arises. It's not safe to assume that every security person will respect you even if there is a permit.
  5. Ask everyone if they are o.k. when leaving the protest. It's safer to stay in a group and walk to cars parked nearby each other. That way you can ensure no one is left stranded if targeting affected their transportation (ie., vehicle was towed). 

Protest or Event Safety  is as simple as gathering everyone together at the end of a protest or event and directing attendees to a carpool or needed housing table where ride shares and housing sign up happens BEFORE attendees dissipate. And, it gives everyone the day to get acquainted. Not everyone, even if they have some money, is willing to sacrifice their last $300, till next payday, to get a hotel room or a ride share.
Though this is probably more obvious to  Millennial. There are a large number of Gen X'rs and Boomers, and even some of the Silent Generation;- Who ignore these things because they have the luxury of affording what they want on a credit card. So PLEASE! Don't leave your own hanging.

They came out to support a cause, and the cause is nothing without their support.
Even if its as simple as hosting an Apres Demo party at your house.

Showing participants that you are concerned for their safety helps take the stress out of the situation. 

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