I’m going to Alamo Square Park on Saturday — here’s what you need to know if you want to come with (no longer Crissy Field)
[IMPORTANT UPDATE — 11:40pm on 8/25/2017]
**The Patriot Prayer group has relocated their event in Crissy Field to Alamo Square Park as of August 25th, 2017. The National Park Service has confirmed their relinquishing of the park permit. We will be gathering at Alamo Square Park. For live updates, you can 1) follow me on Twitter, 2) subscribe to Bay Resistance by testing “RESIST” to 41411, or 3) follow this Facebook Event**
As I wrote in my previous post, there are many options for protesting the alt-right / KKK rally happening this Saturday (8/26) in San Francisco.
I’m choosing to go to Crissy Field because I know people will be there, and we will be safer if there’s more of us. I want to have the backs of folks who are being extremely courageous, potentially putting their physical safety on the line to confront hatred face-to-face. History tells us multiple resistance tactics must co-exist to defeat hate. If you want to read more about other perspectives, or why I’m choosing to go to Crissy Field rather than ignore them, please read my previous post.
I have privileges that allow me to take risks — for instance, I don’t fear being arrested and deported because of my documentation status, nor do I fear being profiled by cops because of my race. Understanding my privileges allows me to understand my strategic place in this fight for social justice, and I’m going to stand by / in between / in front of folks who may be more at risk.
I’d love for you to join me. Because honestly, I’m scared shitless and I want to feel safer knowing there will be more of us (like Boston!).
I’m scared, but here are some things that are making me feel better:
- Safety in numbers: There will be a lot of us there — more and more contingents are popping up organizing to march to Crissy Field. People are saying SF will mirror what we saw in Boston (yay!)
- No weapons allowed: The National Park Service announced they will not allow any items that are weapons or can be used as weapons at Crissy Field. Prohibited items include: ammunition, backpacks, drones, explosives, firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms), glass, mace/pepper spray, sticks, bats, toy or replica guns, and more (scroll down for the full list)
- Organized leadership: Multiple activist groups and leaders are working tirelessly to provide great leadership to folks who participate in the counter protest. They’re sharing information real time and providing tips for everyone to stay safe
- Security check points / search stations: The city has made its stance clear that they are doing everything they can to keep the counter protesters safe — though I do not trust the police (please be cautious and avoid arrest), I take comfort in knowing that they’ve been trained and instructed to search thoroughly for any prohibited items
- Lawyers: Lawyers from National Lawyers Guild will be present to help — they will be wearing fluorescent green hats
I’m not a trained militia, I don’t have experience fighting Nazis, I’ve never been a part of a violent protest / altercation. I’m just as anxious as you are. But I’m deciding to show up for folks who have more to be afraid of, yet are being so courageous in their decision to show up.
So if you decide to join me, here are some things to keep in mind.
Important things to know / do:
- Meeting Point: Meet at Alamo Square corner of Hayes and Steiner.
- Text Alert: Subscribe to Bay Resist’s text alert system and check on their website / Facebook event update often for latest news: text RESIST to 41411
- Buddy-System: Come with a buddy, stay with your buddy. Have a plan for when you get separated. Try to stick with large groups, but still have a buddy — email me if you want to come with me from the Mission!
- Be cautious before, during, and after the rally: There have been cases where the deflated and pissed off Nazis retaliate after the rally. Stick with your buddy / group until you are in a safe area
- Communication: Cellphone service may be unreliable — coordinate communication plan in advance and let your friends and family know of your status so they don’t worry! (Don’t worry mom!) Have important numbers written down somewhere (e.g., paper, body, etc.)
- Engaging with Police: Don’t assume the police will protect you, especially if you’re more likely to be profiled (e.g., Black, Brown, Muslim, trans folks). Know your legal rights in case of arrest and ask for a lawyer. Do not resist arrest, even if it’s not fair. Have someone in your group who can be a liaison, who is most likely to be seen as non-threatening to cops
- Pepper spray: It is unlikely there will be pepper spray or tear gas, but if you get sprayed, running 50/50 unflavored antacid (e.g., Maalox) and water solution (LAW: Liquid Antacid Water) over your eyebrows, letting it flow over your eyes in an outward direction will help. Do not wear contacts — wear glasses
- Valuables: Don’t bring anything you don’t want to lose or get confiscated
- Photography: Don’t photograph others without their consent, and try to not be photographed to avoid being identified by the alt-right doxers
- Clothes: Wear comfortable layered clothes (in case you need to take it off after being pepper sprayed) and shoes — don’t wear all black to avoid being mistaken as black bloc (more likely to be targeted by alt-right and police)
- Water and food: Eat before you come, bring water and snacks
- Interacting with racists: Do not engage with the alt-right / KKK / fascists if they try to provoke you
- Violence: DO NOT INITIATE VIOLENCE
- Lawyer: Have the National Lawyer’s Guild number handy in case of arrest: 415–285–1011
- Getting home: Leave the rally in a group — experienced folks say this is the most dangerous part!
- Mental health: Coordinate a post-rally emotional / mental support activity in advance. You may need to talk to someone. Take care of yourself!
Do whatever you need to take care of yourself and prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally. Find and organize with people you trust (if you don’t have anyone to go with, you can come with me, seriously).
That’s all from me, for now. I’m looking forward to seeing thousands of other passionate folks flooding the streets to stand up against oppression.
I know we can do this, San Francisco. Let’s get it.
Facebook events I’m following (they all have the same meeting place):
- March Against Hate to Alamo Square
- The Bay Shuts Down White Supremacists
- Bay Resistance Organize to End White Supremacy
Facebook Status I’m following
- ACLU’s “What to do if your rights are violated at a demonstration or protest”
- National Lawyers Guild’s “You have the right to remain silent”
Health and Safety Resources:
A. Aerosols / pressurized canisters
C. Animals other than working service animals
D. Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
E. Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restriction of 18” by 14” by 7”
G. BBQ grills (propane tanks with any open flame)
J. Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
L. Firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms)
M. Gas Masks
N. Glass, thermal or metal containers
P. Laser pointers
Q. Liquids (other than water in factory-sealed, clear plastic bottles)
R. Mace / pepper spray
T. Pop up tents or canopies
U. Selfie sticks
W. Signs exceeding the size restriction of 24” by 36” (Signs will only be allowed if made of foam core, cardboard or paper)
Y. Supports for signs and placards including sticks of any material
Z. Sticks or bats of any nature composed of any material
AA. Toy or replica guns
BB. Wagons or carts that can be pulled
CC. Weapons of any kind
Helpful Photos (credit: Gwen Park):
Also, here are some powerful words from Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on what she believes San Francisco should do:
Honestly, I think the strategy should be “let a thousand flowers bloom.” A coordinated strategy in this case is better than a one-size-fits-all strategy. If the responses are uncoordinated that will be the story. If progressives are not aligned in keeping the focus on the white supremacists who are in office and on 45’s administration, it’s all bullshit anyway. The larger goal is showing them that we are more coordinated, more impactful, and that we actually represent America. The theoretical debate about non violence vs violence is a black hole that few emerge from. This debate only matters in the context of a larger strategy for power. If we see this as a moment that can open up new opportunities for organizing, why wouldn’t we want to have a coordinated approach that shows us what’s possible?
Coordination gives people cover, allows for multiple points of pressure, and creates many different entryways for people to participate. There are people who are willing to take risks, and there are people who are not. And they should coordinate to make sure that it adds up to one beautiful whole.
This is not a time for SF to be uncoordinated. The most important thing is that these forces understand that when they come to SF spreading their bullshit that there are people willing to stand up to them in a multitude of ways. For me, it’s not a theoretical debate. This is a time to demonstrate that the progressive movement is united across difference in it’s rejection of hate. And then, of course, do the real work which is uprooting white supremacy in our own movements. Really easy to focus on the most obvious trash while not looking at how we clean up our own shit.
About Michelle Kim
Michelle is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker, and a coach passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to create positive change. She is the co-founder of Awaken and owner of Michelle Kim Consulting.