How to Form a Protest!*

*a more public relations friendly version of this word is “gather of people with a likeminded passion for activism. With signs.” Or at least that’s what I told the police officer.

A lot of people have noticed that there are certain causes I am very passionate about. Be it ranting about body image or writing about Darfur, I try my hardest to get my point across; change must happen.

And what better way to try to make that change happen? A large group of people demanding it.

Some of you may have read back about my large yet legal protest I organised regarding the disgustingly huge human rights violations happening in the region of Darfur right now, and I promised I’d explain how you can get involved. Obviously, my pet cause is genocide so all terms will be based around that, but this can apply for whatever suffering you are trying to end.

1) Find people who care. They are out there, and they will help you. They may be a bit tricky to find but once you do you will love it. You need a core base of people to get together with you somewhat frequently and advertise this thing like it is the apocalypse. I did a lot of the work on mine almost on my own because my support base wasn’t very strong, but it is so much easier when everyone has a task.

2) Find people who don’t care, and make them care. The average person might be reluctant to give up even the slightest minute for a battered people, but you must use all your charm and sway to make them see the truth. For example…

“Did you know that in Darfur women are often raped brutally several times by several different men before eventually being shot?”

Seriously, if people say no to that… well.. Draw your own conclusions. Also, you need to appeal to people’s sense of fun, not just their sense of charity. As much as you’d like for them to care, a lot of people are busy or unmotivated. Let them know it’s going to be the biggest thing they’ve seen in ages, there will be more of their friends there, and there will be free cookies! Yaaaaaaaaay cookies!

3) Never beg. Never bug. Never argue. Some people are busy, and you have to accept that. As much as you’d like them to care, they don’t, or they do but they can’t. Begging and bugging is frustrating for everyone and just makes your cause look worse. Furthermore, don’t try to convert the negative people who think your cause is stupid. (“Oh my God we can’t do everything let black people help themselves…” Yes, sadly this is a real racist comment I heard whilst campaigning. Oh joy.) They are annoying, but constantly arguing will just lead to them trying to sabotage your lovely efforts with comments you may make while frustrating. Instead, just shake your head, give a “cluck cluck” to yourself, and say, “I’m sorry you feel this way” and strut off, feeling fabulous. BURN.

Optional: Add, “Wow, it’s amazing you can stay in that position for so long. You know the, the your head is up your ass one. You go walk 4 hours for water every night before you say that while carrying your fake Louis Vuitton. We can’t do everything, but you’ve done nothing, bitch.” like I did.

I’m sorry folks, I can’t always be classy.

4) Set a good date and time. Keep the route in prominent areas, and have it well known ahead of time. Choose a date that’s easy for people. I chose mid afternoon on a Saturday which seemed to work the best. I also found stopping points worked well for gathering people. I stopped at major places like universities and parks so everyone had a minute to breath.

5) Keep it legal. Make sure the police know your route for this peaceful protest. Make sure the starting point and the ending point are not only clear, but booked so you aren’t trespassing. You’d be amazed who owns what. I chose a junior high school as the starting point and the city hall as the end, and both had to be booked. The police were also incredibly helpful and had a car block off the streets for us as we banged our way down. If you have any type of entertainment after, make sure you have a noise permit.

6) Find out how to book a megaphone. If you have speakers or even just organising a large crowd before the walk requires it.

7) Let local politicians know. Politicians love photo ops and youth activism. If you stress how grass root this is, but remain professional, they’d love to show up. Make sure they understand it’s legal, and make sure you don’t bash any political party. Even though Stephen Harper has done little for Sudan, I avoided bashing the Conservatives to look mature, and thus garner a better reputation amongst the politicians, who can get stuff done.

8) Advertise like crazy. Make lots of posters, and post them everywhere. Make sure you recycle them when done! Can you afford radio space? Will the newspapers donate some slots? How about morning announcements at school? Oh, how about FACEBOOK. If everyone invites their friends it’s easy to message the entire event and tell them new info, and to spread the word. I got the word all over my province with just one network!

9) Ask for donations. Have a good charity that is related to your event so you can raise funds as well as awareness. Half the time though, awareness is more important. Bonus points if you have something to sell, like pins of a bracelet.

10) Let the media know. Give them a cell phone number, a starting spot, a place to meet you so they can photograph your crowd and do a story on your group, thus promoting the cause. To be honest, reporters tend to care more about what kids are doing then the cause itself, but it still gets it out there. Call all major news stations and make sure they know!

11) Be happy, no matter what. You’ve worked hard on this! If it’s 5 people or 500 people, if it’s raining or sunny, you have to deal with it and be glad it’s happening. Be optimistic, and everyone will want to hear about your cause! Grouchy people on the side of the street are nooo fun.

It takes effort. It takes lots of effort. And months of planning. But if saving the world was easy, we would have done it already. We often forget about the meaning of the word sacrifice, and putting aside a little bit of effort for a big cause hardly constitutes that.

Instead think of all the people in Darfur who have died in efforts to let their children live.

Think of the grandparents who walk four hours a night to get water for their family.

Think of sharing what little food you have.

That is sacrifice. We’re just being moral.




jess said...

Great post. It makes me want to form a protest if only i had a cause

m.elizabeth said...

you are excellent and inspiring and I want to come protest with you.

ps. we definitely should shop together! to quote myself again, "fo real fo real. east coast bloggers unite. repping whaaa" (I'm in gangster mode. btw.. if you missed that notice.) (I just wrote "Bloogers untie" and I am now laughing painfully while choking on cocacola. bloogers? yeah thats us.) but actually. lets shop. to quote myself again, it will be epic.

pps. someone teach me how to speak in less words. everything I do is too lengthy. including laugh. I'm still giggling away at Bloogers.

beccajanie said...

great post. and admirable organization efforts for a very worthy cause.

Good Golly Miss Mollie said...

wow thats awesome. like i can't imagine anyone in the suburbs where i live doing anything like that, we're all caught up in ourselves it seems. i used to be really big on raising money and charity and stuff when i was younger but i've gotten sidetracked with higschool life and this makes me want to start up again. thanks for such an inspirational post! can i link you?

Anonymous said...

i'm glad you were able to leave classy behind long enough to totally COMPLETELY make that lady/man/person feel like a complete ass. i hope they went away seething and then after awhile realized how completely idiotic they had sounded and how they completely deserved your comment. ugh!

Sammie said...

Oh I remember you posting about the protest a while ago. I'll know to look back to this whenever I plain a protest, whenever I have time or the means of doing so.

Anonymous said...

A brilliant post, you mentioned a lot of great tips and advice. I think a lot of people are deterred from protesting simply because they don't know where to begin. Hopefully it has inspired some people out there to at least start thinking about getting actively involved in a cause.

PS. I love your outfit in the photo - you are too cute!

grandma's closet said...

so inspiring!

ahh i love Darfur! my volunteer club had a film festival to support them last year and we raised like $1000.

we played a video last about a college in my state and they did this project for darfur. and it was 400,000 marks (i can't find the video anywhere!) and basically you make 400,000 chalk marks (representing the 400,000 lives lost) all over your campus to show people what 400,000 looks like because basically, no one has seen 400,000 of anything. unfortunatley, it rained so all of their hard work was literally washed be honest, i don't know what the new death toll is but this documentary was from a couple years ago. i would LOVE to do it with my club. it would be so impacting.

jessica ann said...

i agree with all of the comments, so inspiring! i'd love to start a protest one day and you look cute doing it! :) xo

MR style said...

changes must happen

chnch said...

wow. it's great to have sumone like you. a fashionista and an activist:) keep on inspiring many people:)

The Seeker said...

My dear, this is a great post. So inspiring indeed.
You aren't just a beautiful girl you're also a lovely caring person socially conscious and willing to fight for a good cause.
I really admire YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Also thank you so much for your nice, kind and encouraging comments in my blog, you're a sweetie.


A Black Tie Event said...

Thank you so much for this post! I'm seriously considering starting an environmental club at my school this year, and you have a plethora of great ideas that I could use even for starting that. Very inspiring!

Jackie said...

This was an amazing post. I've always wondered how to start something like this, but I just never had a single clue.

Very inspiring!

Isabel said...

How can you want to be me when you are so effing amazing?

Are you going to school for International Development? I'm going to Uni. for Environment and Resouce Studies so, ummm, activists unite!

Little Miss Quirky (a.k.a. Gabby) said...

Wow! Thanks for such great tips. This is so inspiring!

p.s. Don't worry about not being classy, there were much more unclassy things that person deserved to hear ;].

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

what an inspiring post. i truly hope that one day i'll be referring back to reread all of your great tips!

Living In A Suitcase said...

Go you! Great style and *some word that means you care about other people and world issues and stuff*

Mango Juice said...

awesome!!! time to go protest.....

Savvy Mode SG said...

i don't have a cause yet but this is great info. i completely agree with you. there are times we do need to speak up about what we really care about.

Alix d'Laire said...

Thank you for caring. I, too, was that kid in high school who sent out emails for everyone to sign the Darfur petition (despite hating mass emails), told everyone to recycle, argued with the upperclassmen against communism, etc. I've never organized my own protest, however, and it's really really really great that you do. Really. The world needs more people like you (and me, sometimes, on a good day) to keep it going.
(I just learned that "fred" is swedish for "peace". Imagine the joy.)

this wheel's on fire said...

you are wonderful!!

Ida said...

Brilliant as ALWAYS. Love your frame of mind, Mary, seriously.

emily said...

looks like fun!

keira antoia rose said...

Excellent work. Great post. Very inspiring. Awesome. Ever watched the movie, "Iron Jawed Angels?" If you haven't you have to see it.

xoxo Isabella Clarisse xoxo

CoutureCarrie said...

You are awesome!!!


Kat said...

I think this has just knocked the breath from my lungs!
Seriously, wow! You should be really proud. This post really makes me want to actually get up off my ass and do something. Great post and i read each of your helpful tips, you make it sound so easy!

I think its about time we exchanged links!

Anonymous said...

hi! i think this is amazing! i feel really inspired, people i know would never be arsed to do this
its really sad
and that a girl only a bit older than me arranged something so...fantastic!
you rock!