Tips for a Successful Empty Holster Protest

by Zachary Zalneraitis on March 27, 2013

Empty Holster Protest is less than two weeks away. It’s time to put things into high gear if you want to have a successful protest. Following these simple steps will help ensure a successful protest.

First, focus on fliering. There should be fliers going up all around your campus. You should flier, flier, flier and when you’re done, flier some more. Don’t be afraid to get your friends and people outside of your campus chapter to help flier.

There are some great flier ideas here. You’ll notice a couple of them include QR codes. QR codes are easy to make. There are loads of free generators on the internet. Consider making one that points to your group’s Facebook page and then use your page to generate interest, build excitement, and spread information about the upcoming protest.

In addition to fliering, you will want to contact the appropriate police departments and local media.

University police often have difficult jobs. Make their lives easier by letting the departments know students will be wearing empty holsters during the week and where you plan to have your “flagship” sign protest. You don’t need permission, but a little heads up will help everything run smoothly.

Alerting the media as well is one of the best ways to ensure maximum exposure. A sample is attached. Media Advisories are just that; an advisory. They need to be short and concise while still getting the point across. They should be no more than a page in length. You should send one of these to every local media outlet possible, including your school newspaper. Just visit their websites for contact information. Don’t be afraid to send one out the week before and the day prior as well.

On the day you plan to actively protest with signs and distribute literature there are a couple of things you can do to help reduce trouble. First, you should be courteous and respectful to everyone you encounter. If someone approaches you from a position of vitriol and berates you, just smile and move on to the next person. If someone engages you respectfully, then by all means speak with them and hand them some literature. People who aren’t engaging you are watching. Your demeanor will speak volumes to them.

Consider getting a digital voice recorder and record your interactions during the active protest. Actually, it’s a good idea to do so all the time. In Ohio, a conversation can be recorded as long as one person knows about it. Laws vary, so make sure you check your local laws.

If the police or a university official tells you to move or otherwise stop your activities, do so. Don’t argue. Don’t debate. The time for conflict resolution is not during an active law enforcement encounter. Get the officer’s badge number or university official’s name and seek appropriate remedy afterward. Of course, if you notify them beforehand, you probably won’t encounter this.

Use your group’s Facebook page to build excitement and interest by posting photos and updates during the event itself.

Immediately after the active protest, send out a press release and a few photos the day after the protest to all of your local media. Attached is a sample. Press releases can be two pages in length but work best when they are one page. It helps add legitimacy if the contact information of someone not named in the press release is used. You can still mention the person named in the release as in the sample.

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