Activist Teach In; How To Put Together An Event, Rally, Protest, Festival, Teach In or March – Use The Event As A Springboard For Positive Sustainable Change In Your Community

Activist Teach In; How To Put Together An Event, Rally, Protest, Festival, Teach In or March – Use The Event As A Springboard For Positive Sustainable Change In Your Community
A coalition of groups or any single group with a goal can put together an event, but it is important to discuss and clear on what the purpose, mission and vision is of the organization and for the event itself. Don’t lose sight of these things in the process of planning events over and over again. 
It is ok for an event to be used to make the comfortable uncomfortable or maybe even piss a few people off. The basic premise of a democracy is that the people have the basic RIGHT to protest or hold rallies, marches and go on strike, and the ‘leaders’ will not shoot them or throw them into jail in response. 
Umbrella Revolution And Scholarism Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Student Activists, Part Of Occupy Movement, Squashed And Silenced By Force Just Like In US

A Successful, Peaceful Citizens Revolt And Revolution Happened In Iceland, Copy Their Model In Your Country! Occupy Protests In US Broken Up With Systematic Police Brutality

It is ok to take people out of their day to day routine, accepted ‘normalcy bias’ or a specific way of looking at things, which needs to change. While planning the event, make sure to keep the event peaceful and non violent, or it may create a backlash. The vast majority of people react to violence with fear and anger, rather than with changing their minds in your favor. 
What is the mission of the event? 
What is the purpose? 
What is the vision? 
If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

If a miracle is needed, ask for that, and set that as a goal.

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A Carbon, Chemical, Nuclear And Radiation Free World Dream – Create, Visualize and Emote It Into Reality With The Power Of Love, Peace And Miracles

The Day The Berlin Wall Came Down; ANYTHING Is Possible! Never Give Up! Revolutions Do Happen


Unless there is an emergency situation, it helps to plan ahead at least six months. Smaller events with less than 20 people attending something like a potluck take much less planning and thus can be planned quickly and easily. 
However, a larger event involving 60 to 100 or more people may take 6 months or even 12 months to pull together, unless a team is in place that has done it before and is ‘trained’ or seasoned by having planned and pulled off events numerous times before. Trying to pull off an event for more than 100 people in less than a month will take a miracle.

Source/credit Hervé Courtois

Remember that ANY change will be resisted, just because people fear change more than death, even if the change is a good one. Just be kind, patient and keep working through the resistance, because that is part of the process of evolution, greater awareness and growth both individually and in a community. 

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer


The best and highest way of making decisions as a group is by consensus. There may be a facilitator, but there is a good reason not to have an official ‘leader’, or to rotate the leadership role around to different individuals on a periodic basis. For one thing, if a movement is successful, leaders can be and often are corrupted or taken out, but a leaderless ‘revolution’ cannot be stopped, because everyone cannot be taken out. 
Consensus Process And How It Works; Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council, Quaker Unity, Religions, Cooperatives, Occupy Movement Success; American Spring: Occupy Wall Street
The Occupy movement is a good example of a large scale demonstration and event using consensus. Although it is slower and more cumbersome, consensus is better than just taking a quick majority vote or letting big money decide, and not really listening to the dissenters and their points of view. The powers that be tried to target the ‘leaders’, but they were unsuccessful, because there were no official leaders. 
Chris Hedges; 40 Occupy Movement Successes; The Occupiers Melted Away The Barrier Between The Poor And The Middle Class, US On Edge Of Positive Peaceful Revolution Or Disintegration


Top 5 Event Planning Tips

Rich Ferguson at offers essential tips for a successful event! Learn about how to ensure guests have a blast.
Of course, the event location will set the ‘tone’ for the event. If you are trying to save the redwoods, it would make sense to hold the event in the redwoods or in a park with redwood trees for example. It would not work to hold this kind of event in a place built out of redwood trees, as that would negate the goal of the event and make it look like those who planned it did not really pay attention to details.
Julia “Butterfly” Hill’s Story; Activist, Teacher, Healer, Practicing Civil Disobedience, Laying Her Body On The Line, Following Road Less Traveled
If you are holding an event to house the homeless, find a potential building that they could be housed in and hold it either in that building, complex or as near to it as possible. Try to draw in the people affected by the issue, together with the goal, along with symbols and tie it all together into the actual event.


Strategic Event Planning: How to Make Your Event Succeed 45 Min.


The first step is to set a goal of doing this kind of activity and then naming it. The name is what sets everything in concrete, so concentrate on this first. A good next step is talk about goals around the event, short term, medium term and long term. A ision statement may help, especially if the mass media picks up on it and it spreads. 
Name of Event; ___________________________________
The name of the event should not ideally not be ‘anti’ anyone or anything, but rather focus on a positive goal and state that in the title.. In other words, ‘Housing First’, or ‘Housing For Everyone’ is a better title than War On Homelessness. More people are attracted to a positive goal than a negative image or being against something or someone. Rather than an anti war rally, brand it as a pro peace rally. Rather than an anti nuclear rally, brand it as a Beyond Nuclear, 100 Percent Renewable Energy event. Rather than banning plastic bags, name the ordinance something positive, such as Beyond Plastic Containers Initiative, Sustainable Grocery Bags Ordinance, or something similar. 
Focus on fun; if people don’t have fun and engage in positive goal setting or positive experiences, the event may turn into a flop or be less engaging and memorable. Include music, singing and/or dancing plus eating, as these are all fun activities. When combined with activism, they make a potent mix that draws people in. 


Next, it is critical to put together committees to spread the workload. Normally it takes at least 4 people to put an event together, but the more people, the better, because it spreads the work load.

Suggested Committees may include but not be limited to:

Budgeting, And Bookkeeping

Plan a budget by doing research on the various costs of the items below. Once the budget is in place, fundraising can be done. A very low budget event can be done for between $500 to $1,000 and the prices go up rapidly from there, depending in size of event, number of people, security, permits, etc. 

Facility Arrangement

Try to arrange for a free facility, to keep costs down. County, city, library, and civic organizations are the best places to try for a free event place, especially if it is a community event, without a charge. Churches often will host an event, especially if they can plan it in months ahead of time. Churches are not so good for events that are planned quickly. City or county parks are a good place, and sometimes they even have buildings or rooms available. 

Permit, License, Insurance, Legal Issues

Most activities where more than a few people gather, requires a permit these days. Plan ahead and don’t leave it to the last minute. A permit may cost something, depending on how the event is done or where the march is held. Check with the county or city to see if they will ‘sponsor’ the event and arrange for the permit and for it to be held in one of their buildings. A local city or county park can be arranged for. Hold the event in an area that has a covered gazebo and picnic tables for example. Or, if it is going to be cold, rainy or damp, an indoor facility would be preferable. 

Publicity And Public Face

4×4 cards to hand out
longer manifesto, goals, action items, summary of event, etc.
Media list
Flyer pass out or posting places
Logo and/or T shirt design if none is already available


A great resource for uploading video and then sharing them with others in the group who can then put it on or etc.. Remember to get copyright permission to use photos or videos from the event from those who got their pictures taken. (up to 2.5 GB for free account)

A great resource for uploading pictures and then sharing them with others in the group who can then put them on Facebook, tweets, etc.. Remember to get copyright permission to use photos or videos from the event from those who got their pictures taken.  (up to 2.5 GB for free account)

Twitter, Facebook, other social media
The Arab Spring Revolution was made public on Twitter, with activists and participants tweeting messages to each other and to the world, on a live almost instant basis. The whole event was organized using Twitter, which is a free service. It does not have to cost a lot to organize a peaceful revolution or occupation; the proof is in the Arab Spring Revolution. Download a twitter app from; 
Social movements will put an end to war as we know it


Is there power available for cellphones, projectors, coffee makers, teapots, warmers, etc? Can the event be powered by solar cells or alternative carbon free methods? 
WIFI or Internet Connection
If there is an Internet connection in the room where the event will be held, can it support a feed for a live online event? Is the speed high enough? Is the bandwidth sufficient along with all of the other people or organizations using the same access point? Is there WIFI available for cellphones and smartphones? Can cellphones be recharged?  

CITIZEN MEDIA; Live Online NewsCast

What is the speed of the connection? Use this service to test speed… at the actual location, using either a hotspot or a WIFI, or a plug in connection to a laptop. 
It takes at least 5mbps for video streaming, preferably 10mbps. Otherwise, record the video onto a chip in a camera or into the hard drive of a laptop and then upload the video later on, after the event is done. 


The above method can be used with a ‘hotspot’ service and a cellphone can that take video. 
Occupy Streaming Tutorial : Setting up Livestream on your laptop. 
Set up an account above, many days before the event. Once it is up and you have practiced using it, click on your account, and then click on Webcaster. You need Internet access to use this function and it works with your laptop and the camera built into it. 
A few weeks ago, in the middle of Zuccotti Park 21-year-old Victoria Sobel set up a webcam on her refurbished laptop or “hackintosh,” as she called it, and logged into Looking into the camera she called out to viewers watching all over the world, “Hi Livestream, are we live?”
A string of messages from people watching Sobel filled the screen. They wrote questions to her.
“Someone is asking if there’s a march today?” she said to me and then looked back into the camera to talk to viewers and answer the question. “I’m going to take you to the calendar board so we’ll find out. And I’m going to take a walk around the park.”
Live Streaming Showdown: Ustream,, Livestream, Bambuser BY JAN OZER
If you have a camcorder at any enterprise, institutional, or even social event, you should consider streaming that event live. Live streaming can be free or relatively inexpensive, and live streaming services such as Ustream,, Livestream, and Bambuser are all reasonably easy to use. In the pages that follow, I present reviews of these four services; there are more out there, but these four have emerged as leaders, particularly during the Arab Spring and worldwide Occupy protests of the past year.

Music, Ice Breaker, Entertainment

Even if the only music at the event is a radio, do that. If arrangements can be made to break up the event with music at lunch by someone playing a guitar or harmonica for example do that. If arrangements can be made for an outdoor musical performance by a local band, do that, in order to attract more people to a hopefully free event. Combine activism with fun whenever possible. 

The Singing Revolution Film; How Estonia Gained It’s Freedom By Singing A Revolution

Other Organization Liaison

A coalition is sometimes more powerful than one group, as long as the goal or vision is not diluted down to the point where it is worthless.

Arrows, Direction Signs for Intersections

Smaller signs can be used to point people to a particular building or event location, especially if the parking is located some distance away from the event itself.

Event Signs

Signs don’t have to cost a lot. A bedsheet and some spray paint or a can of paint and a paint brush will do…

Magic markers on cardboard works too, for a low budget event. These signs can be stapled, glued and or nailed with brad nails to sticks or yardstick rulers for carrying in a parade, etc.

T Shirts, Sweatshirts

These can be used to raise funds for a cause, group or an individual in need for example. Although not required, this small piece can bring in a symbol that is important. A ‘brand’ or logo can help spread the word out to the community as people wear the walking advertisement for the cause, issue or group.
Raffle Tickets

This is another source of funds for a particular cause or group. Raffle off whatever can be arranged by asking the community or sponsors for raffle items. Sell tickets for the raffle, either $1 each or $5 each for more expensive items. If nothing else, raffle off fifty percent of the proceeds of the raffle ticket sales. This is easy to do, and the cost is a roll of raffle tickets. 


White bedsheets, along with spray paint or painted on lettering works for low budget events. This banner was put up on a road with a lot of traffic, so even if none of those people in cars attended the event, they got exposed to the message. It is easy to put up banners like this in both directions, but make sure to get permission from the property owners involved. 

Remember the other supplies needed to put these banners up; string, fence posts, PVC pipe, zip ties, etc.

Posting Flyers

This committee can post flyers all around town, such as library, community bulletin boards, college bulletin boards, etc. Check to see if someone has a database of community locations where flyers can be put up. 

Parking, Parking Permits

Check with the facility that the event is being held at to confirm parking is sufficient for expected number of attendees, and that no permits, fees or other special arrangements have to be made.
Name badges, stamps or wrist ID bands for paid event

Name badges are always a good idea. The easiest way is to have stick on name badges, but hanging or pinstick types are other versions that can be used again at future events. Name badges help to form connections. People can walk up to each other and say hi using a name, instead of having a barrier of not knowing anyone and having to ask their name first. If there is room, a person can also list the organization they represent to provide more information and give another opportunity for conversation and connection. 


Get publicity via the local news;
More than 115 million Americans live within 50 miles of an aging nuclear power reactor—and that means that we all have a direct stake in improving the safety and security of these power plants. For that to happen, more people need to get informed and hold accountable those responsible for our health and safety. You may also request a Nuclear Power Citizen Advocacy Tool Kit from UCSUSA that includes some of our most recent analysis and issue fact sheets, as well as a number of other “how-to” resources such as tips on how to contact policy makers and submit letters to your local newspaper.
Sincerely, Sean Meyer
Manager, UCS Nuclear Power Safety And Security Campaign
UCS Global Security Program”

Of course, the local action you take may be around any number of other issues, and that is just fine. Real change happens from the bottom up, on a local level, town by town. 
Remember to keep asking; what works for seven future generations without causing harm? 

Politics And Politicians

If the goal of an event is to form support to make a change happen, invite politicians to attend and speak, focusing on those who have the best chance of supporting the cause. At the event, make sure that there is a question and answer section after each speaker does their presentation or speech. Have someone in the audience ask the politician if they can champion the cause. If that person says yes, they are now the champion that everyone can rally behind in some form or fashion. 
The commitment on the part of the politician is that they will fight on behalf of the citizens who want to make something positive happen, and champion their cause, for better or worse. That politician is going to show up at events, rallies, and meetings, especially those that involve the public showing up, media coverage, etc. They are agreeing to have their name used in conjuction with the cause or goal, and will champion it. 
Even one city manager, county supervisor or city council person can make the difference when it comes to making something happen. It does not take a majority, just ONE person at a higher political level either locally in the city, county, state or federal government. Without a champion, it is very hard to make any change happen, even long term. 

Food, Drinks, Garbage, Recycling (Alcohol free, or cocktails/wine/beer, which may need license)

Tables, Chairs

Arrange for a sufficient number of tables and chairs for whatever event is planned.
Screen, projector, speaker microphone, blackboard, whiteboard, laptop, etc.

The event will reach more people if it includes both visual and auditory elements. Some people learn best by seeing pictures or graphs, while others absorb information by hearing it. Others learn best by DOING an activity. In order to reach the highest number of people, all 3 elements need to be incorporated into an event.


Is there a bus line going to the event? Where is the nearest bus stop? Is there an address for the event, and who knows the best directions to the event place? What supplies/food/signs/chairs/tables, etc. will need to be transported to and from the site? 

Greeter/Sign In Sheet

Facility Tour Or Map

Meeting Or Speaker Facilitator

Who will introduce the speakers? Who will be the ‘timekeeper’ and gatekeeper, to make sure all speakers and presenters stay within their agreed on time limits? Who will stop commenters or people who try to hog the show or drone on endlessly on off topic subjects? A good way to kill interest and have people leave a meeting or event is to not control and manage the questions, comments and speakers. A meeting has to keep moving and not get stuck in arguments, minutia, over emotional diatribes that go nowhere, political attacks, personal attacks, etc. 

Outreach to affected individuals

If the target of an event is a specific group of people, it is critical to give them a voice in the actual event, and have them be an integral part of it. For example, if the target of an event is housing the homeless, then homeless people should be invited to speak and participate in the event. Ideally, they will prepare for their ‘part’ and make one or two relevant points, and stop there, within an agreed on time limit. Ideally, all speakers will practice their speech ahead of time to stay within their time limit.



Food donations 

Workshops, Scheduling Speakers And/or Activities
Put together speakers and then print schedule to have at event

The picture above shows an event with two different rooms with speakers in each room. A sign was made so that individuals could see what speaker was in which room, with color coding to make it easier to see. 

Cleanup, Taking Signs Down, Lock up, Inspection, Sign off

Who is responsible for clean up, taking out the trash, recycling and food composting waste? Where does it all go? Who will lock up? Who has the key? Who will inspect the rooms and sign off that they were left in good shape, and get a deposit back if there was one?


Use Google Drive, plus a free conference call service to have regular meetings of these committees. Each committee helps pull the event together. 
A physical meeting should be held on a regular monthly, then biweekly, then weekly, as the event gets closer to the actual date. One or more daily meetings may be held if something changes in the last week before the event or if there is a need for this. Committee meetings may be held monthly, weekly and even daily before the event.


Post the videos and pictures of the event to spread that information as far and wide as possible, using the tools provided above. An online photo storage service such as Dropbox is very handy for uploading photos and then sharing them with the group. Just make sure to get copyright permission to share and use photos of people.

Because politicians and the mass media typically do not respond at all anymore to an event, rally, march or other demonstration of public anger, it is required these days to follow up the event with grass roots activism on a LOCAL level. On a local level, there is still some influence on government and policy. Work the process of peaceful, positive and sustainable change locally in one town at a time. Start making change happen right where you are now. Instead of trying to pass laws nationally or state by state, work the change one city or town at a time, passing ordinances against or for something on a local level.

Credit/source Rainbow Warriors
The method to do this is to build support among community leaders via a teach in or other event first, trying to get as much positive press as possible. Then use the videos, information handouts generated by that event or series of events in surrounding cities or neighborhoods as the lever to open doors and talk with leaders of the churches, non profits, healthcare, police, fire, and others. 

If a specific action is desired, do listening sessions, and/or get signatures or statements of support from participants, with a goal of solving their problem(s), such as homelessness, pollution, lack of affordable housing, etc. Come up with a specific plan, gather support and show up at city and county meetings. Meet privately with the political and other leaders in a city or county. Give them copies of the plan, and links to the informational videos, online articles, etc. 
Ideally, have supporters phone, write, and/or show up to city or county government meetings where they can speak on behalf of whatever action is desired that lines up with their issue or concern. Overwhelm the opposition with a tsunami of information, education, and public support. Local politicians cannot withstand this amount of pressure, even if they are getting paid by corporate interests. If the politicians try to resist any change on a local level, they will be voted out and someone else will step into the void and fulfill that pressure to make something positive happen.
Once enough towns, cities and counties sign on to the action, whatever it is, then go after the state level politicians, using the leverage of all of the cities and counties that have passed whatever it is, whether that is banning plastic bags, banning GMO’s, banning nuclear waste or nuclear power, etc. On the positive side, cities and counties can set goals to house all of the homeless, switch to 100 percent renewable clean carbon/nuclear free energy and more.. Anything is possible, one local town or county at a time. 

Keep on working it and don’t give up!

There is no failure when working for the long term good of humanity. While you are working on achieving the goals, remember to keep in mind the question; what works for seven future generations without causing harm? Keep asking the question, and stay open to learning deeper levels of the answer, as they come to you. 

Activist Teach In; 200 Plus Things Anyone Can Do To Make A Positive Difference, Shift Paradigms, And Assist In The Birth Of A New Sustainable Way Of Living On Planet Earth, From Bottom Up


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Activist Teach In; How To Put Together An Event, Rally, Protest, Festival, Teach In or March – Use The Event As A Springboard For Positive Sustainable Change In Your Community

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