Unarmed Civilian Protection:
Posadas event on San Diego/Tijuana Border
Dec. 15, 2018
We were invited by the local organizers of the Posadas event in San Diego and Tijuana. Posadas is a tradition, particularly in Hispanic communities. It directly connects with the quest to be allowed into a safer, welcoming space in the context of the Christian story. The organizers were concerned about counter-protestors and police/military action.
In turn, our vision was to offer nonviolent protective accompaniment to support the movement for migrant justice and to illuminate the dignity of all persons. A hope was that through this experience, training, and community building we might help enable such a practice to continue longer-term in this border area as needed and primarily led by local persons. Our trainer was a local activist and accompanier with Activate Labs. Our team consisted of a mix of locals and others from Washington DC, Portland, New York, and Denver. The Meta Peace Team, Vets for Peace, and Global Immersion all participated with us.
DC Peace Team offers UCP during unite the right rally
Aug. 12, 2018
In collaboration with the local community, we deployed 24 trained persons as an unarmed civilian protection (UCP) unit this Sunday August 12th during the Unite the Right rally in Washington DC. Our UCP unit deployed to accompany and protect people, particularly those who are most in danger. For example, we were requested to assist with the resistance movement at Freedom Plaza from 11am-3pm and then to accompany them on their march to Lafayette Square. During our time at Freedom Plaza, our unit was broken into four affinity groups which worked the outer perimeter and engaged in many conversations as we handed out de-escalation tip sheets. Some wanted to know who we are, how they could join the DC Peace Team, to simply offer a thank you for our presence, and to express that they felt safer with us around. Our conversations were also about building trust with people from the various groups at the rally, such as Antifa. This enabled us to be more effective later in the day when hostility built up and arguments ensued even within partner groups. We were able to defuse a pair of persons close to getting into a fight about the tactic of throwing objects.
DC Peace Team offers non-partisan UCP at a Palestinian-Israeli Demonstration
June 3, 2018
We were invited to this event by one of the participants a few days before. They were concerned about their safety. The event was a celebration of Israel’s independence at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia and also a demonstration for Palestinian rights. The rain was coming down. This is in the context of the recent U.S. political decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and the killings of Palestinians in Gaza.
“I saw an officer put his arm around the young man’s neck in a choke hold. I was quite nervous at this point as images of Eric Garner, i.e. ‘I can’t breathe’ came into my head. I stepped closer and said assertively to ‘get his arm off his neck. He his a human being. Treat him with respect.’ Then another officer stood in front of me with arms outstretched, yelling to ‘get back.’ I saw the fear in his face and turned my attention to him. I said ‘we see you as a human. We respect you. We want to honor your humanity.’ His face noticeably shifted as his eyes calmed and he looked at me directly…”
Read the full reflection by Eli McCarthy
“The officers prevented two women from exiting east of the restaurant and telling the women ‘you are a part of the group. I know that because I have been watching you for the past 20 minutes.’ The women came and stood by me and I walked behind them till we got to the restaurant access, where they stayed until the now crowded walk way was clear.”
Read full reflection by Angie Whitehurst
DC Peace Team offers non-partisan UCP at the March for Life
Jan. 19th, 2018
Makaya (Kiangana Dialungana)
My biggest challenge was that the pro-choice protesters were greatly outnumbered by pro-life protesters. It was sometimes difficult to find common ground because the pro-life voices were extremely loud. At times I felt obliged to protect the pro-choice minority protesters since the other group was much louder and at times very intimidating. I learned that the DC Peace Team is not afraid to jump in to defuse tension. The most amazing thing was that DC Peace Team members got into intense conversations peacefully and assured that both groups could affirm their opinions in a respectful manner. A highlight for me was that, in spite of the large number of people, overall it was a peaceful protest. DC Peace was extremely active and quick to spot potential negativity and neutralize it.
Overall, it was a very peaceful event. But loud. There were individual protesters, who targeted individual protesters, verbally, taunting and physically, surrounding a protesters and pushing there sharp edges signs mounted on sticks, up in the face of their target. I tried to diffuse by asking them to listen, converse and exchange views. This group did not want to do that. I continued to stand by and eventually took a photo looking up toward the targets poster realizing that there was a video camera. Then the hostile group broke up. The target moved and the most irate of the group proceeded to follow her. I then followed and the person left. The protester and another member, who was there, said to tell DC peacekeepers keepers thank you, several times.
The other situation was when I was draped by a “make America great Trump” flag. I said nothing, did nothing and eventually, they went away. An observer wanted to know and I explained to her, that I was not worried, because there was to physical harm, as such.
DC Peace Team and Meta Peace Team offer non-partisan UCP at the Republican National Convention
Official Street Preachers and Westboro Baptist Church
at Georgetown University
Apr. 27, 2015
In light of Monday’s double protest outside of our university’s front gates, I wanted to share a view that most Georgetown students might not have witnessed. Read full reflection by Peter Armstrong (Georgetown Student)
When students were beginning to organize against the Westboro Baptist Church, I was uncertain about how I would become involved. Read full reflection by Alek Ball (Georgetown Student)
March For Life
Jan. 25, 2013
Our goals as peacekeepers are to defuse violence and cultivate empathy in all parties. By “violence” in this context we include both direct violence such as physical or emotional harm, as well as the cultural violence in the ideas, language, or bodily posture that makes direct violence more likely. Read full reflection by Matthew Price
Westboro Baptist Church and U.S. Military
Nov, 12, 2012
The Westboro Baptist Church came to protest the official acceptance of homosexuals in the U.S. Military and more broadly in the U.S. Read full reflection by Eli McCarthy