Bystander Intervention Workshop equips participants to help targets of bullying, bias

ACLU Montgomery County's Darian Unger makes some introductory remarks.

ACLU Montgomery County’s Darian Unger greets participants.

What do you do when you see someone being hassled or worse because of their identity or views?

On Thursday evening, December 15, an audience of about eighty people attended a workshop led by MCCRC activist Kit Bonson at the Silver Spring Civic Center to find answers to that question together.  Among the takeaways:

  • focus on the target, not the harasser; de-escalate, don’t exacerbate
  • learn what the target wants: “how can I help?”
  • activating your smartphone camera is as simple as “double-clicking” the phone’s start button, for Androids, or “on + swipe left,” for iPhones.  (Kids may know this by heart, but a lot of parents don’t. 🙂 )

After explaining some of the concepts of nonviolence and intervention, the workshop broke up into groups of ten, where participants and facilitators acted out scenarios as “target,” “harasser/bully,” and “intervening bystander.”

Some of the scenarios participants worked through included a woman with a hijab being harassed on public transportation, a trans person being hassled on the way to the restroom, and a Latino store clerk being berated by a customer.  We learned to ignore or distract attackers, to recruit others as appropriate, and to check with the target to find out how (or whether) to help.  A “Know Your Rights” brochure from the Montgomery County Hate Violence Committee, detailing options for hate crime victims, was also distributed.

Materials from the workshop itself will be made available at a later date.  If you’re interested in hosting or participating in a workshop like this one, let us know using this workshop interest form

Nik Sushka checks in a participant. Name tags were color coded so groups of 10 could form up easily.

Nik Sushka checks in a participant. Name tags were color coded so groups of 10 could form up easily.

We thank our co-sponsors, particularly County Councilman Tom Hucker, and ACLU of Montgomery County who arranged the room, as well as Peace Action Montgomery, Jewish Voice for Peace-DC Metro, Progressive Democrats of Montgomery County, Peace Committee of Sandy Springs Friends Meeting, and Just Peace Circles, Inc.

 

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2 Responses to Bystander Intervention Workshop equips participants to help targets of bullying, bias

  1. Pingback: Looking for Active Bystander and Nonviolent Intervention Training? – Swamp Revolt

  2. Pingback: Looking for Nonviolence and Active Bystander Intervention Training? - rosemarieberger.com

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