Protect Our Activists

Activist Protection Resources List

Linked activists in line
Linked activists in line

About the Activist Protection Resources List

This is a collaborative page listing resources in different categories for protecting activists from risks they are exposed to in the course of their work. We welcome suggestions for reliable resources, as we build this new list.  

While POA itself focuses on enhancing understanding of the activist experience in reality and fiction, as part of the broader effort to create a more supportive and loving climate for our first responders against injustice, we want to recognize the many entities who protect activists on the ground in a wide range of situations.  We hope this list will help activists connect with these resources, some of which have been around for many decades while others are emerging in the thick of 2020 popular uprisings and activism.

Descriptions are quotes and/or our paraphrases of descriptions on their websites, and graphics used are logos or other identifier graphics they have published. 

These resources are not reviewed or evaluated here, but by sharing them we are indicating that activists we know find them useful and reliable in the categories indicated.

Protections for People engaging in Mass Demonstrations

Defending Rights and Dissent

Protect My Protest, a new project of Defending Dissent (see below) deserves a special mention for integrating a range of resources, and, like this list encouraging the pooling of ideas by submitting them. check out these resources from trusted civil society organizations so you will Know Your Rights, understand how to safeguard your privacy, and how to protect yourself from tear gas and other weapons police may deploy, even learn how to organize a protest.

The National Lawyers Guild

The National Lawyers Guild helps to support social justice movements on the ground as well as provide solidarity to international struggles. The Guild is best known for defending the rights of protesters through Mass Defense and Legal Observer Programs, which have been providing legal support for movements for social justice for 50 years. Guild lawyers, law students, and legal workers observe police actions during protests, provide Know Your Rights trainings, track arrestees through the legal system, and provide free attorneys for protest-related cases.

Movement for Black Lives

The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of individuals and organizations creating a shared vision and policy agenda to win rights, recognition, and resources for Black people. In doing so, the movement makes it possible for Black people, and therefore everyone, to live healthy and fruitful lives. M4BL’s Resources page includes specific guidance for safety at protests and related situations.

American Civil Liberties Union-District of Columbia

Nationally, and through its local chapters, the ACLU educates the public through Know Your Rights trainings and materials, appearances on radio and television, social media activity, and meetings with community groups, advocating in particular for freedom of expression and association, which are basic to the right to protest injustice.

American Friends Service Committee

Among the work of the AFSC are its guide on preparing, staying safer, and being effective when protesting. Its materials on the do’s and don’ts of safely intervening on behalf of targeted people when witnessing supremacist and other forms of harassment and violence can also be useful for activists in facing attacks, particularly against activists targeted by multiple oppressions.

Shutdown DC

To encourage safe, sensible and prepared participation in demonstrations to uphold 2020 election results, protest attempts to overturn them, and other aspects of  the current movement for social transformation, Shutdown DC offers a series of trainings on knowing your rights in the streets, direct action training, protest photography training, de-escalation training and other ways for activists to be prepared to keep one another safe. 

Witness.org

Witness.org helps identify critical situations and work with frontline human rights defenders affected by them the basics of video production, safe and ethical filming techniques, and advocacy strategies. Witness.org helps activists use video ethically, safely and effectively.

Online Security

Equality Labs

Equality Labs is a feminist digital security, technology, political organizing startup dedicated to progressive power-building. EL provides practical tools–phone safety, anti-doxxing guide, etc.–for communities to make new interventions in longstanding systems of oppression and advocate for themselves. 

Activist Protection in Elections

Participating in elections, and particularly taking leadership in ensuring people’s right to participate, have long carried great risks, as those holding economic, political and military power (including police) attempt to use them to influence electoral outcomes regardless of popular will. We can learn much from election defenders throughout history and around the world. Here are a few resources in the US. 

FRONT LINE ACTIVIST PROTECTORS

These are activists and activist organizations who directly place themselves between people struggling for their rights and the “forces of the Beast,” namely, oppressive entities at any level–private corporation, local police force, national military–seeking to deprive them of these rights. 

Some defenders have this specific task as their focus; other times this is one function among many in a social justice organization/movement. 

Speaking Out

Defending Rights and Dissent

DRD protects activists’ by exposing patterns of government repression, offering training, tools and resources to challenge, holding accountable and defending activists from police and state repression, raising consciousness about unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and undemocratic government tactics targeting movements and individual activists, and highlighting stories of resistance by grassroots activists and movements.

 

A four part guide to defending voting rights, including ways to be prepared for different scenarios and to take safe, concerted action, written by a group of researchers, organizers, and activists based on their understanding of how people-powered movements have protected freedom and democracy around the world.

Political Prisoners

The Jericho Movement

Jericho advocates for recognition that political prisoners exist in the U.S. and calling for nationwide amnesty for all political prisoners. Their projects include locating and building the case for amnesty for individual prisoners, as well as education, legal defense and fighting for quality medical care for political prisoners.

Activist Community Protection

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Jericho advocates for recognition that political prisoners exist in the U.S. and calling for nationwide amnesty for all political prisoners. Their projects include locating and building the case for amnesty for individual prisoners, as well as education, legal defense and fighting for quality medical care for political prisoners.

Adamson's 1969 - Nicole Burton

When Adamson Henry’s family strands him in America during his final semester of high school, he must navigate a strange land. A young Englishman, Adamson faces dating, a cross-country adventure, Woodstock, antiwar protests, college, tragedy, and more, all while avoiding the draft.

Cazzarola: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy - Norman Nawrocki

Cazzarola! spans 130 years in the life of the Discordias, a fictionalized family of Italian anarchists. This novel details the family’s heroic, multigenerational resistance to fascism in Italy and their ongoing involvement in the anarchist movement.