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ACTION IDEAS FOR ORGANIZING AND EDUCATING

Below is a list of suggested ways to educate and take action against the siege of Gaza. This list is not comprehensive, but hopefully it will inspire you.  Take action and be creative.  Once you plan your action, register it on our website so others can find out about it.

Host a speaker or public panel discussion

Organize a teach-in

Creative chants for protests and vigils

Organize a vigil

Film screenings

Have an informational table at an event or in a public space


Speakers

Commitment to education is a key aspect to ensuring the success of your campaign. Speakers allow students and interested members of the community an opportunity to hear about the Gaza siege for themselves. Find out if there are students or members of the local community who have recently been to the Gaza Strip. You can also invite speakers from our End the Siege Speakers' Bureau.  Invite them to speak at your school about their experiences, human rights violations occurring in Palestine and the siege of Gaza. Keep in mind that just sitting and listening to an "expert" talk can be disempowering. Prior to the talk, consult with your speaker about ways to make the event more engaging and productive. Have a group member facilitate discussion in break-out groups, make t-shirts to raffle off at the next event for a fundraiser, or have a brainstorming session about what resources individuals can offer for an action/campaign on this issue.

Plan ahead by identifying and approaching your desired speaker in advance. You may be responsible for providing provisions for speakers such as an honorarium, the cost of room and board, travel etc. Asking and identifying a speaker in advance will enable your group more time to successfully fundraise. Your group should carefully assess what kind of funds you need for other organizing projects and decide whether you think a speaker's honorarium is reasonable given your future plans.

Don't forget to ask other groups to cosponsor the event. They may be able to help you fundraise and ultimately will help you make positive connections in your community or on your campus. Many campuses have Middle East/Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Departments and Political Science, English, and International Studies are also good departments to approach. When asking them to financially co-sponsor the event, you should also ask them to co-sponsor it by helping publicize it in their departments. If you can contact professors personally, they may give their students credit for attending the event.


Teach-Ins


Teach-in's are meant to provide general information about a situation or event and to get new people connected and involved. Have well-informed members of your group, professors, or community members "Teach In" about Israels siege of the Gaza Strip. It will be important to keep visual aids on hand including maps and pictures of the destruction of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. These visuals will give the attendees a better understanding of the gravity of the situation. Teach-ins should be engaging, interactive, and concise. It is important to leave a large chunk of time for questions- this is often when people learn the most. It is also important for whoever is running the teach-in to be organized and concise in their presentation, providing concrete examples and clear definitions. Those in attendance are at the event to learn more, so be sure to be well supplied with flyers about local events, lists of good websites and books, and perhaps an article or two.

Chanting

Be heard by chanting slogans at large or small rallies, vigils, actions, or wherever else you feel it is appropriate. This is an effective tool to get your message out loud and clear. Chanting helps strangers not involved in your action know why you are there and it also helps action participants to feel a sense of camaraderie.

When thinking of slogans for chanting try to make them rhyme and be full of catchy phrases. When leading a group in chanting, ensure that there is someone with a bullhorn in charge who is prepared with a list of chants for the event. This leader should read the slogans in a call and response fashion according to the rhythm of the slogan. Pay attention to the crowd. Not all slogans and chants work at every event. If a crowd isn't catching on to a particular chant, don't revisit it again at that event. It is a good idea to organize members of your group to write up some chants and make signs and posters before an action. This is a fun and creative way to get together and prepare for an action. This will also get your group thinking about the action in advance.

Film Screenings


Organize a film screening. Use our list of films focusing on Gaza. A film screening is an opportunity to hook up with unlikely groups and departments on campus like the Cinema Studies Department or the Film Club.

View the film ahead of time and prepare questions for discussion in advance. When leading a discussion about a film, it is a good idea to keep talking points on hand.

Vigils

Vigils are often used to commemorate and remember a tragic event. When choosing a date for a vigil try to choose one that holds significance. Many vigils are candlelight and may start off with poetry readings, songs and include moments of silence. Provide candles and tin foil for the participants and if possible make copies of the program for the crowd.

While vigils are meant for commemoration and often closure, they are also powerful spaces to promote awareness. It is important to have visible banners and signs so that passers-by can immediately know why you are there. The organizers of the vigil should decide beforehand how you will interact with passers-by. A silent vigil can be very powerful. Having a couple people passing out flyers to passers-by explaining why you're there is always good. Having a sound-system and a couple of speakers is a possibility. Having designated spokespeople to talk to the media so that everyone else can continue the vigil is always important. In each of these cases, the folks who will be interacting with passers-by and the media should have talking points and be sure that they represent the reason why everyone is gathered there.

With any event planned outside, be sure to book and advertise for an alternative rain location.

Tabling

Be public. On a regular basis set up a table for your group in/outside your student union building, library or another highly frequented spot. At your table include literature, campaign information, petitions, a group banner and flyers for upcoming events and your group's next meeting. This is an opportunity to advertise for events/campaigns, to maintain visibility on campus, to empower member. of your group to talk to strangers about the issues and to obtain signatures on petitions. A larger group may want to set up a tabling rotation to ensure not only that tabling happens frequently, but also that members don't get too burned out.

Group members should know up to date information about the siege of Gaza and the Gaza Freedom March. Internal teach-ins for members of your group are a good idea. Some groups designate a portion of each meeting to update about current events in Israel/Palestine with the presenter rotating each meeting. This provides each group member with an opportunity to be educated and educate others. Be prepared to answer questions - it might be helpful to keep talking points, maps and photos on hand. Don't table alone and ensure that group members are paired with individuals with whom they feel comfortable.

Be prepared to deal with antagonizers and decide ahead of time how you will deal with them if the problem arises. A good policy is to just say: "I'm glad that you have a deep concern about this and I would be happy to talk with you when I am not working on a public event. If you are interested, I can give you our campaign information or some literature?" If you feel comfortable, give them your e-mail address or a business card. Hold de-escalation and facilitation trainings for your group to help everyone become better at engaging productively with hostile folks at events or while tabling. Campus dialogue centers or counseling centers are often happy to provide de-escalation trainings or mediation.