How to Do Outreach and Build Community

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on September 23rd, 2005

One-man or one-woman revolutions are sometimes necessary, but should never result from a failure to invite others to your demonstration.

Use e-mail, mailing lists, and phone trees from groups sympathetic to your cause. Put announcements in your local newspapers’ calendars, and put up flyers in public places.

Introduce everyone at each protest. Honor all who join you. Ask for feedback afterwards and try to keep an open mind about incorporating new ideas.

Never use us/they language. Instead, describe problems as things which everyone in the human community must solve together.

Respect for your opponents will increase the likelihood of genuine dialog and eventual alliance.

Author’s note: Before my first demonstration in 1978, I enjoyed a nonviolence training session led by seasoned activists, using a booklet filled with wisdom gained over time. Later on, when organizing protests of my own, I enjoyed the advice of civil rights and Vietnam War protestor Tom Lewis. I have also learned a few things the hard way. I hope How to Hold a Demonstration will make it easier for others to organize powerful and persuasive protests.

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