lotesse: (Default)
so I'm kind of freaked about it, but I want to try and go down to Ferguson, MO for the mass mobilization in early October. I've felt so upset and so powerless this last month and a half, and I really want something to DO, some way to be heard. But I've also never done anything like this, and I've been feeling really mentally unwell for a good while now, and I'll admit the idea of going in to the scenes we've seen there scares me to bits. But the powerlessness def. isn't helping with the feeling mentally unwell, and I feel like, if folk don't keep the noise up on this one, justice en't coming. I'm reaching out to rl people, both here and at various academic institutions, to see if anyone wants to ride with me; my undergrad is only about three hrs drive from Ferguson, so something might come of that.

Do y'all have any advice, or experiences that you think would be good for me to hear about? How do I take action and still care for myself?

Date: 17 Sep 2014 11:15 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
princessofgeeks: (Default)
I think you have to really put taking care of yourself first. And you have to know your own limits.

If crowds and noise are a problem for you right now, and being in that environment would trigger your anxiety, maybe there are other things you can do that are quieter but would still add your voice -- a small donation to a legal fund, writing letters, etc.

What I'm doing in light in Ferguson is trying to notice where I can work for racial justice in my own small town.

But my situation is very different from yours -- I have a family and am stretched very thin. I couldn't justify traveling to a protest when I have so many other priorities.

So we are all capable of different things.

Bless you for caring.

Date: 17 Sep 2014 11:59 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] emei
emei: (dark clouds)
So, in terms of going to big protests while scared, I have a few things.

I'm coming most lately from going to a 10 000 people protest against a neo-nazi party marching through Stockholm, right after a violent Police crackdown on a similar manifestation. And the thing is, with most really big protests, is that what we see afterwards is the most violent moments, even when the majority of the protest/people were safe. The one I went to had its share of violence too - not as bad, but there - but we backed away far from it, and being visibly there and still safe still feels like the best choice.

There is no need for you to place yourself at the frontlines, facing the police. There is no need for you to be confrontational. With these things, I feel the important thing is to be there, as much as possible for oneself.

Go with someone to the protest itself, buddy system type of deal, where you're both agreed to keep track of one another throughout. Allow yourself to back away whenever you feel uncomfortable. Try to be in spots where you don't feel hemmed in, so that you can run the other way if something happens/people panic.

During the (enormous) protests at the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen a few years ago, I was at home as backup for my protesting friends, basically checking in by phone on set times to check that they were still safe, and with instructions for who to contact if they weren't. Maybe check if there's something like that for Ferguson? Having something to fall back on, or just knowing that people know where you are, also makes it feel less scary.

Date: 19 Sep 2014 02:09 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] staranise
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
I thought I didn't have anything to say (generally having been too gimpy for boots-on-ground activism) but I've been mulling it over and maybe I do. I've been thinking about how they try to make soldiers resilient to PTSD because my mental image of this is in some ways you going off to war. And at war, the three mind-killers are helplessness, unpredictability, and isolation. Which means that you try to maximize control, achievable goals, consistency, and community. Finding a small group of people you can fall back on and decompress with; feeling connected to the community; setting yourself a daily routine; finding a project meaningful to you so you can have successes or failures that are small and immediate, and very influenced by your own efforts. The last is me extrapolating, thinking that it might help you to have a specific mission, either on your own or in concert with the locals there. Whatever suits your talents and proclivities and local need--keeping other protestors hydrated, making a photographic record, collecting oral histories, fundraising for protestor legal defense, whatever strikes you as right. Something that doesn't rely on old white men with feet of clay for its success.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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