Sunday, February 7, 2010
You Can Do a BLM Protest in Your City or Town! (courtesy of Barb/AZ - AAHS)
When I saw BLM protests springing up all over the country, I thought well, how brave of them to do that. I didn’t even consider doing one in my own city. Then, a group in Tucson, just south of here, announced their own protest. It wasn’t long before I was approached to do one in our area.
“Could you send out an email to see if somebody will step forward to organize it?” I got this request several times, so I sent out an email to the group asking for somebody to organize a protest. I will be the contact person if somebody will be the point person. Many people replied saying they wanted to help. I started organizing the people who wanted to help, still hoping somebody would be the one to organize it.
Well, you know how that one turned out! I began to realize I was the one in charge. Panic hit, but I figured I was stuck.
I called Makendra at the Cloud Foundation, pleading. “Help!” What do I do?
She sent me to Tuesday’s Horse, and low and behold, they had a CHECK LIST, a sample press release, and everything one needed to do to organize a protest! The work was already done!
I literally downloaded their checklist and started filling in the spots where I needed help. One person agreed to write the press release. (Makendra will also do this for you.) I got media contacts from a local horse organization, one person agreed to work on signs, and fliers, and pretty soon we were on our way.
In Defense of Animals sent us handout fliers and extra signs if we needed them.
In Defense of Animals also sent out an email alert to everybody in the Phoenix area. They were tremendously helpful.
My job remained to GET THE WORD OUT. I posted the information everywhere I could, through emails, horse forums, Facebook, Bridle and Bit, yahoo groups, local message boards, the Arizona AAHS blog, and put up fliers at the feed stores. I even posted the protest on Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Facebook page!
Before I knew it, it was time to set the alarm for Saturday morning.
We chose a corner in downtown Phoenix, in front of the BLM office. Any public corner is fine, and the Tuesday’s Horse checklist includes checking for permits, which we did.
30 people arrived, and then something remarkable happened. WE HAD FUN! One woman’s sign said to “Honk for the Horses.” Another person had brought a cowbell. Every time a motorist honked, we rang the cowbell! There was something special about being in a group of people with the same purpose in mind. Suddenly, I didn’t have to “explain” what the BLM is doing to our wild horses. They already knew.
Two media cameramen showed up, one with our local NBC affiliate, the other an independent cameraman. They interviewed several protesters who gave it their all, including the emotions this brings out. It wasn’t all emotions, though, and many people had their facts straight and were very impressive. We ended up being on four different network broadcasts that evening.
As we were packing things up to leave, something else remarkable happened. Two people stepped up to organize two more protests!
I was absolutely overwhelmed at the beginning to think we could pull this off, but SO many people came forward to help, it was unbelievable.
I hope you will consider doing a protest in your area, no matter how small your community is. The best thing to come of this was the news coverage, and getting the word out about the fate of our wild horses.
(A few things I did differently/in addition)
• Sign-in sheet for email addresses
• Business cards—I ALWAYS carry AAHS business cards with me
• Hard copy of Cloud Foundation petition for signatures
• Fact sheets on wild horses and horse slaughter, also
Requested a mounted police unit. (Unfortunately, they couldn’t come.)