This checklist is meant for our own accountability and we offer it as a resource for you as well.
The Northwest Side Coalition is receiving requests for support of local marches, protests and gatherings. We are also experiencing requests for support in creating events. We do not identify ourselves as experts in any way, we offer this checklist of questions with humility and in an effort to hold our own selves accountable. We are open to feedback and ongoing edits. We acknowledge that we have only come by this wisdom through experience, our own failures and by following the lead of Black let organizations such as SOUL. We are still learning and hope this will contribute to a collaborative body of work as we deepen our commitments to antiracism for the long haul.
If you’re considering convening a public vigil, march or protest please consider these questions:
- Which of these tactics are we planning?
- Why are we planning this action/event?
- Who are our accountability partners and who are we holding accountable?
- Who are our partner organization(s)?
- Does this tactic arise from a strategy for engaging the systems of power in our community?
- Whose voices, lived experience and bodies are we centering?
- What is our strategy for safety and security? Particularly for Black and Brown folks who will bear the weight of any pushback, brutality or opposition?
- Who are our marshals and chaplains of the event? How will they be identified? Have they been trained?
- Do we have identified medics?
- Do you have volunteers trained in mental health first aid and/or de-escalation?
- What is our plan for dealing with opposition? How will we respond in the face of violence?
- And finally, What tangible action are we asking people to take as a result? What specific “Call to Action” are you focusing on? (Consider asking community members and leaders to sign The Northwest Coalition Against Racism and Hate Anti Racism Pledge.)
COVID Pandemic Precautions
- Physical distancing > six feet
- Masks – face coverings of some type and provide face coverings for people who show up without.
- Pledge to get a PCR COVID test after protest
- Pledge to self quarantine for ten days if physical distancing is not possible and/or masks are not being worn by all protestors.
- Pledge to not protest if you are sick with fever, cough or other signs of COVID or have recently been in contact with someone infected.
- Keep people moving and if you have to stop, remind people to physically distance themselves.
Additionally, this should go without saying but from an antiracism perspective, white folks shouldn’t be policing how POC protest. Please consider refraining from claiming your event as peaceful, respectful or quiet. You can set expectations for the event without including this language in your invitation. You are convening people who are grieving and enraged at years of racial injustice and police violence. If you are a white person or white led organization you can set the table with integrity, center Black and POC voices and create protocols that center and protect them when asked. If you need to learn more about this here is a good starting place.
Do your homework: Connect with Black led organizations and engage with the work they’re already doing and ask how and when it can be best amplified in your neighborhood.
Be aware and honest about the context you’re inviting people into.
The Northwest Side Coalition is committed to supporting grassroots efforts that will lead to anti racist and systemic change in our community. We acknowledge that we have a large number of white leaders in our organization and have our own antiracism work to do so that we center but do not depend on our Black and Brown leaders to do the work for us. We stand with Black Lives Matter Chicago and #CPACNOW. We will not endorse events that are not collaborating with and/or amplifying Black led organizations and their goals. We must make these goals clear and explicit.