Edit, June 12, 2020 — wow, I didn’t realize I had this up for so long, but do not put milk in people’s eyes! Flush with water.
I haven’t been making enough time for writing lately, and I am still technically halfway through a series of posts on self-care and community care. But in the interim, here’s a list of links that might be helpful as we prepare for what comes next, interspersed with some commentary from personal experience and actions & trainings I’ve attended over the past few years and the intense “omg train everyone on everything now” last few months.
This list isn’t comprehensive and skews toward resources for queer and trans API people, since I’m pulling from my work and personal Facebook posting. I also haven’t done the best job of tracking all of what I’ve shared, so I may update later with more links and will note the edits/added content with a note at the bottom of the post.
ETA (as I’m compiling) — trying to make this list as not-overwhelming as possible. If you do one thing, start with locking down your digital security and making sure your address isn’t available online. I have also tried to move most of my commentary to sub-bullets and bolded the action steps, so you can tl;dr your way on down the list.
- NQAPIA put together a list of precautions to take before inauguration. (It’s OK, you can still do the things.) These tips include:
- legal protections for transgender individuals (e.g. updating your passport with the expedited process based on President Obama’s executive order, since executive orders can be reversed at any time);
- immigration advice for undocumented folks and those seeking asylum based on an LGBTQ identity; summaries of potential legal changes;
- and steps you can take to protect queer families (second-parent adoption, do you need to get married now, wills, etc.)
- Informed Immigrant has “a list of over 600 immigrant rights/immigrant-serving organizations and donation links; legal information FAQs in English & Spanish (compiled by legal experts at NILC, CCC, SEIU, and others based on questions received by organizations in the states); a legal resource pdf with known and regularly used legal services look up tools; and NILC’s know your rights document.”
- Talk to your neighbors. Get to know the people around you, and build with these folks. Remember that calling the police over noise complaints or misunderstandings can be fatal to your neighbors, or for you.
- So don’t call the police (links pulled from an email to myself in July; drafting emails is one of my many forms of non-successful blogging):
- Why not? “Police Accountability and ‘Broken-Porch’ Policing“
- Ok, so what do I do? What To Do Instead of Calling the Police (Google Doc)
- Also: Watch this YouTube video of Assata’s Daughters performing a piece about the murder of Laquan McDonald and their #ByeAnita campaign. [Content notes: anti-Blackness, police violence, death, grief, mental health.]
- Check out the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective’s pod mapping worksheet and guide: “Your pod is made up of the people that you would call on if violence, harm or abuse happened to you; or the people that you would call on if you wanted support in taking accountability for violence, harm or abuse that you’ve done; or if you witnessed violence or if someone you care about was being violent or being abused.”
- The most important takeaway I got from Mia Mingus’ TJ 101 training was “building analysis was much easier than building the relationship and trust required for one’s pod,” that is, relationships are built on trust, and we can build on these foundations to share political analysis, and we are less likely to approach strangers who share our politics when we cause or experience harm.
- I have several lending copies of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. Queer and transgender writers, many of whom are people of color, address harm and abuse, community accountability, and building safety without involving the state.
- As we enter into a period of heightened (but, let’s be real, pre-existing) surveillance and threats to our safety, it is so so important that we are vigilant about addressing harm within our interpersonal relationships. Let’s not let urgency and scarcity and fear get in the way of being accountable to each other. Interdependency includes checking in with newly coupled folks, making sure they stay in community, normalizing conversations about consent, boundaries, harm, abuse, codependency. Moving past shame & guilt & judgment so that folks can have hard conversations instead of isolating themselves when they’re experiencing things in interpersonal relationships that don’t feel great.
- Borrow a copy from me here. (Also, borrow Trauma Stewardship from me here.)
- Buy a copy from AK Press here. (I also have a book club discount for AK Press, if you know me irl, we can talk.)
- Also, check out these PDFs from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) to spark conversations with your people about their relationships. They are fun and illustrated like comic books!
- “The Directory of Domestic and Gender Violence Programs Serving Asians and Pacific Islanders, 2016 lists 160 agencies providing advocacy services designed to meet the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of survivors from Asian and Pacific Islander communities.” Download the directory.
- “How To Make Sure Your Honest to God Actual Home Address Isn’t Easily Available Online” (Autostraddle) This article also includes a really great list of other digital security tips. Like the suggestion to search for yourself on Reddit, which I anxiously did for the first time yesterday, and … nothing. Phew.
- Note: OK, so I didn’t do this until after I published this post. I printed a PDF of the results, which includes “possible relatives” and “possible associates,” both of which are full of my actual family members, and I will also be opting them out.
- Crash Override Network “is a crisis helpline, advocacy group and resource center for people who are experiencing online abuse.”
- Use strong passwords. From several digital security trainings, folks suggested using password managers, and I can’t remember which was the most secure, so I will update.
- Text through Signal. You will need to download the app, plus link to a phone number (a Google voice number works on a tablet version of the app if you don’t have a cell phone). Signal uses end-to-end encryption and only tracks metadata about when the app is opened.
- Notes: You can set messages to delete after they’re read. You can use Signal to text folks who don’t have the app, but your messages will not be encrypted. Consider using Signal as your default chat app and encouraging others to do so, too, to normalize security culture. Also, think about what you’re signaling* if you and all of your closest friends mysteriously choose to communicate through Signal on the same day. (* attempt at pun intended)
- Keep in mind: People can still screencap your conversations, so it also matters who you’re inviting in to your messaging groups.
- (P.S. According to a cursory Google search, WhatsApp doesn’t have a backdoor, but folks I trust have still recommended Signal over other encrypted messaging services, including over Telegram and Fireside.)
- If you are meeting about sensitive matters, put away everything that has a microphone. These can be turned on remotely to transmit your conversations. Reportedly, this works even if an iPhone is turned off, and airplane mode is safer. Even safer is collecting all the cell phones and laptops and putting them in a separate room. Someone I know also turned on music on one of the phones while they were in a jar in a separate room, so that all of the phones got to have a little dance party and not hear anything else. ‾\_(ツ)_/‾ why not?
- Surveillance Self Defense‘s “Attending Protests“ has a step-by-step guide to walk through to prepare yourself, including locking down your phone, documenting actions, and what to do if you’re arrested. It’s largely centered on how to protect your phone, but the links and other information are also great general protest tips, and the writing and analysis are a good example of how to get yourself in a security culture mindset.
- Understand the risks you’re taking when you attend a direct action or protest, or even rallies that are coordinated with the police, as situations with large groups of people can change very quickly, and there are plenty of groups who have used tactics that put others at risk.
- For example, I’ve heard that CHP doesn’t think they need to give a dispersal order before they start making arrests for highway shutdowns.
- A dispersal order is given by police informing folks that they must leave an area or face arrest. If you do not leave, you can be arrested. Note: LAPD (and police elsewhere) have arrested folks while they left. (For example, in LA in November 2014, LAPD gave a dispersal order at a BLM protest, and then RevCom misdirected protesters into police lines.
- Laws and ordinances vary by city and state, and prosecutorial discretion also plays a role in charges.
- Getting arrested, in and of itself, is not a tactic or a strategy.
- Pay attention to / watch out for infiltrators and abusers.
- If someone’s behavior seems off to you, follow your instincts and intuition. Remember that women and femmes are socialized to be polite to men and masculinity and to comply rather than make a scene. Predators know this, too.
- Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear has a great breakdown of how predators use specific behaviors to test boundaries and groom their targets. (Content note: I read this book quite a few years ago, and a friend I was talking to recently pointed out that there’s quite a bit of survivor blame.)
- Read Courtney Desiree Morris‘ piece “Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements.” tl;dr (but you should read it): whether they are paid to or not, misogynists who push women & femmes out of organizing spaces with their abusive behavior do the work of the state to destabilize our movements.
- Be wary of protest hook-ups. Be careful about sharing your personal information with folks you just met.
- This (annotated) list that was going around on Facebook for “new protestors” immediately after the election:
- Water makes pepper spray worse. Use
milk(note from Audrey — do not use milk!) or liquid antacid and water. Don’t wear contacts.
- Note: Water makes pepper spray feel worse. If it’s all you have, it’s best to flush your eyes as quickly as possible. Tilt the affected person’s head back or lay back and pour so that the pepper spray flows off of their face.
- Don’t use liquid antacids with food coloring in them.
- Be careful about using squeeze bottles with pointy tips, because eyeballs. Street medics suggest using cheap squeeze-top water bottles, or puncture a hole in the top of a water bottle cap and use.
- If you are still in the middle of a chaotic scene, pull that person to the side / away from the crowd first. Narrate to them what you’re doing and get consent, because their vision is probably going to be compromised. (e.g. Is it OK if we lead you over here so we can treat you?
- If you get tear gassed, when you get home, put the contaminated clothes in a plastic bag for later decontamination and shower with cold water to avoid opening your pores.
- Come with friends and don’t get separated. Avoid leaving the crowd and watch out for police snatch squads.
- Beware undercovers, but beware snitchjacketing and collaborator ‘peace police’ even more.
- The far right is very good at combing through pictures and doxxing people. Mask up.
- Write any necessary phone numbers you may need directly on your skin in sharpie.
- Have an offsite plan for emergencies if you have not been heard from by X time coordinated with someone offsite.
- Make sure all mobile devices are charged!!
- If you plan on going to jail, plan it: bail, lawyer, time off from work, witnesses i.e.: a cadre. Don’t just go to jail without training.
- Beware folks inciting violence. Most of them are police/ feds. Watch out for hook ups for the same reason. Get to know the crowd. They will set you up.
- Water makes pepper spray worse. Use
- Know Your Rights: ACLU has a list of resources here, including printable wallet cards, and the SoCal chapter is offering many free trainings. A huge caveat: Knowing your rights and following these steps gives you legal recourse if your rights are violated. We have seen what happens when Black and brown folks choose not to give in to police officers’ demands. So yes, know your rights. Also take time to think through how you would like to react in situations involving police, and how you plan to stay calm enough to react in the ways that are safest for you and/or most in line with your values/integrity/liberation/desire to survive. These things may all be in conflict, and you should take the time, now, to think about what is most important to you.
Suicide and support hotlines (please share and repost!):
- Trans Lifeline (All hotline operators are transgender. Note that this is not a 24-hour hotline. Shifts are listed here http://hotline.translifeline.org/): 1-877-565-8860
- Trevor Lifeline (24 hours): 1-866-488-7386
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). They offer services in more than 150 languages.
- The Asian LifeNet Hotline, 1-877-990-8585, works in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Fujianese.
- Desi LGBTQ Helpline For South Asians, online responses and (somewhat limited) helpline hours listed here: http://www.deqh.org/
Other tips/thoughts (aka the things left on my brainstorm phone note list that I will maybe write more about later:
- understand how you take up space
- have a safety plan
- DV, SA, codependency
- keep each other safe, go in groups
- informed consent — if you put people at risk without their knowledge, you’re not a revolutionary, you’re manipulating people
- make decisions about what you’re willing to do; define your terms
Ok, I love you, drink water and eat something with protein and put on comfortable shoes. Also maybe print out this PDF (Sinope’s “Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up”) and keep it by your bed.
[Edited on Jan. 20, 2017 at 4:09 p.m. to include the Surveillance Self-Defense link.]