It's only a week until the inauguration of Donald Trump and more importantly, the beginning of the resistance to his administration. I'm not going to like, after the election, it took me a couple of weeks to pull my head up and be able to even think about the work ahead. Though it has been 8 years since I last protested in earnest, I am certainly ready to lace up my boots again. So here is my quick guide to protesting, with extra notes on how to be an ally. For me, standing up to injustice, bigotry, and oppression is an essential tenant of a punk, riot grrrl, DIY ethos. It is not an option, but a necessary part of living in truth.
"We don’t just march to change policies. We march to change ourselves. The act of transforming our political beliefs into something concrete — a sign we carry, a message we shout — transforms us."
It's important to know all the basic information about the march you're attending-- starting place, march length, general route, and ending place. While many marches remain totally peaceful and there are no safety concerns, it is both more enjoyable and safer to march in a group.
What to Bring
Depending on the nature of the action you will be attending, you may need other things but here is a simple run-down of what should be in your pack:
- Your ID, cash, important cards (like bus pass, debit card, and medical cards), and any important phone numbers in a ziplock. If you think you might get arrested, you may have your phone taken and need emergency contact numbers either memorized or written down.
- A backpack to carry your gear
- As much water as you can carry; it's heavy and a pain but someone always forgets and depending on the weather and how long you'll be out you will be happy to have it.
- Snacks, like energy bars or trail mix. Again, depending on how long you'll be out and there's always someone else who needs one, even if you don't.
- Wear lightweight, packable layers, keeping in mind the weather; comfortable shoes; a scarf or bandana to keep warm and cover your nose and mouth if necessary
- First aid kit, including gloves, bandages, etc. I also include more general items like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and chapstick.
- If you have reason to believe there will be any riot chemicals in use for crowd control, make a neutralization kit: a bandana pre-soaked in vinegar in a ziplock for quick treatment, refillable containers of canola oil and rubbing alcohol to wipe any skin that has been contaminated and a bottle of equal parts water and liquid antacid like Maalox to rinse your eyes, nose or mouth.
- A poster! Or two.
During the Action
Be aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you, however unlikely any actual violence may be. Be informed and know your rights, this guide from the ACLU is good to have in your back pocket. If you are attending the action as an ally, be sure you are cognizant of deferring to the voices you are allied with. Be open and available to offer support, but remember that if you have significant privilege, you are not the most at risk.
In a more general sense, this video is a quick, easy, reference:
Apart from participating in direct action, there are TONS of things you can do to continue the resistance. The simplest are giving of your time and money; plenty of organizations will be needing more volunteers and more funding as this fight goes on. I generally look for organizations in my city (though national orgs need support, too), that are serving marginalized populations, and then I check their 990 tax forms because I am a huge nerd and want to be sure I am giving to a financially healthy organization. Additionally, some former congressional staffers have put together an amazing guide to resisting the Trump agenda called the Indivisible Guide. It's truly beautiful.
You can even knit for the resistance with the Pussy Hat Project! And you thought this post would have NOTHING to do with a craft project. Oh ye of little faith. I've made a few so far to send to DC and one for myself, with a skull. OBVS. They knit up pretty fast so you still have time to make one! The pattern is on their site and the skull pattern I found on Ravelry. Rad Nasty Woman pin is from bombasine.
So where will I be on January 21st? I'll be joining my fellow citizens at the Womxn's March on Seattle in solidarity with the national march taking place in Washington DC. The national Women's March org has just released their platform and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by how progressive it is-- check it out for yourself here. The Slate headline calls it unapologetic and that it is. I will be proud to join them.
Keep up with me on social to see what else I'm doing-- for the resistance and otherwise.