By CODEPINK Organizer,
Know your venue. This is especially important
for Bird-doggers going inside a hotel, conference hall,
etc. Having some knowledge of the building or area will
help you determine what kind of action you can pull
off. So, scout ahead when possible. Sometimes great
ideas to improve the effectiveness of your message happen
when you are standing in the space. For example, you
might find the venue has a balcony, just perfect for
hanging a banner! A simple walk-through beforehand can
open up new possibilities. Early planning may be necessary
if advanced tickets are required. Acquiring enough tickets
for your group will make getting into an event a breeze.
Arrive early, and in character if you are slipping
in undercover, or do not want to announce your action
beforehand. (A business suit with a flag lapel pin can
open many doors!)
Passing security. In secured venues that require
you to pass through security, be mindful not to carry
anything with you that could be considered a weapon.
If you are bringing in a banner, have it well tucked
away on your body. Wrapping banners around your midsection
under a jacket or sweater works well. (Once inside,
you can go to the restroom and put them in your bag
for easy access, or you can just pull them out from
underneath the sweater or remove the jacket.) Be aware
of your surroundings. Look for security guards and organizers
who may be looking for protesters.
When passing through security, pay attention to how
the process works with those ahead of you. A smooth
security process and moving with the flow of the crowd
increases your likelihood of getting in. Try to relax
and go with the flow…
If there are several of you, you can either stay together,
or if you’re comfortable, separate and go to different
parts of the room. That way you can do separate actions,
and sustain the energy longer. If there is someone with
you who does not want to speak out, designate that person
to take photos and/or video of your action.
Choose your timing. Listen to the speaker and
choose an opportune time to speak truth to power!
Be direct and simple. Choose one message and
deliver it clearly. Repeat your message and be sure
that your words can be understood. Many venues are large
and not designed to carry sound FROM the audience. In
large rooms, try to get to the front so the speaker
can see and hear you, but also so you can turn around
and use the natural acoustics to get your message to
the audience and the media.
You can ask a question (such as “Why do you continue
to support a war that the American people reject?”)
or make a statement (Iran is not a threat to the U.S.,
just like Iraq was never a threat). You can be creative,
using song and theatre techniques. Creativity can make
your message more powerful and catch everyone off guard,
allowing you more time to get your message across.
Be bold. You’ve come this far, stand up
on that chair, look people in the eye and deliver your
message clearly! If you are feeling scared, remember
it’s not you delivering the message, it’s
the millions of people who feel the same way.
Be aware of the position of the press and make sure
you turn their way.
Be PINK! Use pink fabric for your banners. Take
off your jacket to reveal your pink shirt. Wearing pink
(particularly with an anti-war message) will make you
easily identifiable by the press and get out the broader
message of CODEPINK.
Security guards will quickly come to get you out and
sometimes members of the audience will take it upon
themselves to try to silence you. Always maintain a
strong commitment to non-violence. You can walk out
in a dignified fashion, or go limp and be dragged out.
Consider continuing to repeat your message all the way
out! In most venues, they will question you and perhaps
check your ID, then release you. Arrest is a possibility,
but unlikely, as you are simply exercising your right
to free speech. Remember, when attending an event that
is open to the public, you have not trespassed!
Media coverage. If you have your own video and
photos, send them to us as soon as possible. You can
also send out your own press release to the local media.
Check the press for accounts of your action and send
us the links as well as sharing them with your local
press and media outlets.
Other options. If during scouting you determine
that entering a venue will be nearly impossible, don’t
despair. The media will also be interested in an outside
action. Find out where McCain will be entering and gather
as many people as possible in that location for a “PINK
Good Luck! Good Work!