How to Plan a Protest

With the relative good times of the past few years and the ability to just post stuff on social, we’ve all become a bit rusty at taking to the streets, getting in people’s faces, and protesting when we hear about horrible policies.

With horrible things happening daily, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts to help you organize your neighbors and make your voices heard:

  1. Choose an issue: Bonus points if it is current and broadly understood. Don’t be shy. If you’re upset, so are your neighbors. There’s a lot of pent up hurt right now in your community. I guarantee it. Just announce you’re having a protest and why. You’d be amazed at the positive energy you can unleash if you help channel that hurt.
  2. Choose a time/place: Don’t try to optimize time/place. Honestly, if you’re organizing a protest just choose what is best for you. People will show up regardless and you have other things to worry about. Don’t try to optimize, you’ll waste time. Just make a decision and get on with it.
  3. Get info online: Use Facebook and/or create a quick WordPress site to highlight the issue and tell everyone of place/time. Highlight the issue. Try to be dramatic.
  4. Post  info on social, email to everyone you know. Yeah, you may spam a few people, but you’ll also increase your turnout. And the people who think your updates are spam… well, you don’t need them as friends anyway.
  5. Plan an agenda: 45 min-75 min is the optimal time. Don’t go beyond that or the protest will drag and lose effect. Plan speakers. Having an open mic for anyone to talk can take your protest into an unintended direction. Bonus if you’re able to get notable speakers
  6. Oh yeah, have a mic/megaphone: Related to (4), if you’re going to have people speak, make sure everyone can hear them.
  7. Contact the media: I have a couple of reporters on speed-text and I update them on what we’re up to. I’m usually planning protests after work is done and kids are in bed, so I’m texting around midnight. I think that irritates them. Tweeting at reporters/local news outlets with links on your protest (see step 3), also works. I also think that irritates them. Being a reporter sucks. They do important work.
  8. Have a “call-to-action”: Congrats, you have everyone there and you have your speakers lined up, but what do you want everyone to do once the protest is over? Provide a way forward. Offer up ideas on how protesters can stay involved, make a contribution, etc. Again, try to find ways to channel that community energy.

I hope this helps. There will be more protests coming soon. I can feel it. If you need help or just want to chat, I’m around. Easiest is to hit me up on Twitter @ronpiovesan

See you in the streets!


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