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By CODEPINK Organizer, Lori Perdue

Once you've refined your message and planned your props it's time to prepare for the direct action. The venue is the first thing you need to consider.

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 Greeting Committee”.

Good Luck! Good Work! Bust McCain!