Successful protests are not just as simple as getting out into the streets and chanting you causes. You need to organize it carefully well before the event.
Despite the unfolding political landscape to which our country struggles to adjust, the Food Fair Nation remains unfazed in its advocacy of bringing equality and justice to local farmers. Over the last weeks, we’ve heard each new headline from Washington more outrageous than the last. But this noise does not deter the movement from its commitment to farm labor justice.
Just a few weeks ago, thousands of farm workers in Florida and consumers across the country have taken to the streets to voice out their message: Every individual in the world deserves and demands a dignified life, respect for fundamental human rights, and a voice in determining the course of their future.
The Food Fair Nation has staged numerous protests – of varying scale and types. They have staged walk-outs and boycotts of large food establishments, particularly Wendy’s. They have organized street protests, rallies and even outdoor concerts. In one of the concert rallies, they have invited a jazz band that delighted the protestors with their skillful playing of different wind and musical instruments such as the ones here at Wind Plays.
Time and again, these mass actions have caught the attention of the media and have brought to fore the main issues at hand. Though these demonstrations seem spontaneous and uncomplicated, organizing them doesn’t come easy. There are a lot of logistical considerations and things done before, during and after the protests.
Here we take a look at the intricacy of staging protests and how to make it a success.
Why people protest?
Protests are considered necessary and essential part of our social movements. These mass actions are a way to assert power, to pressure authorities, to take power, and to get what a group needs. Doing things rights achieves the purpose of the protest.
What are the things to consider?
First is to get a valid and clear reason for the protest. Why are you staging a protest? Depending on your advocacy, you will know what type of demonstration or protest to organize.
Second, who are the groups or people involved in your advocacy? You need to reach out to these people or community to rally them into action. Know also who are the targets and decision makers to whom the action would be addressed.
Thirdly, identify the best place and occasion to conduct the protest. Most of these protests are held in open plazas or streets where the authorities would likely notice them. Some choose an event or day that is related to the mass action, example Labor Day protests.
How to reach out to others?
Once you’ve identified the type, date, venue and target of the protest, start reaching out to the public. This is a crucial part of a successful protest. Getting people involved and taking them to the streets. Some things you can do to reach out include:
- Person to person campaign: flyers, posters, door-to-door, outreach tables, call or text your friends and relatives
- Web outreach: set up social media accounts, post on free news sites or blogs, create an email list, post in petition website, post YouTube videos, take your advocacy to the alternative media sites
- Create hype: Do a social media stunt or organize smaller events leading to the main protest
Who are the responsible people?
Once you’ve got people to join the demonstration, you need to organize a team who will cover some basic roles. These include:
- Main organizing team or decision makers
- Speakers and Master of ceremonies
- Appointed spokesperson
- Street Medics and police liaison
- Documentation team
- People gathering contacts and flyering
Once everything is covered and set, you can have your protest. Meet up again to assess how the event went and if you have achieved your goals!