FAQ on Direct Action

When will there be opportunities to participate in direct action?

We are hoping Governor Baker will provide the leadership required of him in this moment of crisis. If he does, there will be no opportunities. But we are starting to host trainings, as we anticipate there may be opportunities in the coming months, so please sign up here if you are willing to participate.

Will there be training opportunities and opportunities to speak with attorneys?

Yes. All participants will be required to participate in a training before participating, and we will have attorneys present to help answer questions.

Trainings will be on:

  • Thursday, October 26th, 6:30-9PM Location TBD
  • Saturday, November 4th, 1-5pm Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA
  • Sunday, November 12th, 1-5pm Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA

Please be sure to register to let us know you're coming!

When do I have to make the final decision about getting arrested?

You are welcome (and encouraged!) to attend a training before you decide. In the action itself, police will usually give a final warning, “if you don’t leave now, you will be arrested,” at which point you can leave without a problem. Beyond that point, you will likely be arrested.

Am I likely to get hurt?

In a traditional direct action like a sit-in, that’s unlikely.  However, if you are physically vulnerable--being cuffed, getting walked to the van, riding in it, and remaining cuffed for up to several hours in the holding cell could be difficult.  And police can sometimes be rough.

What should I think about in deciding to risk arrest?

Medical conditions/meds As above;  plus, if you need regular meds to stay healthy, it’s not a good idea to get arrested--it’s possible you could not bring or get your meds.

Immigration status / other legal issues.  If you are an immigrant or non-citizen,or if you have other warrants or charges pending, you should not participate

Licensure/job implications  If you are a teacher or a licensed professional, think about whether a criminal record (even though unlikely) would put your job or future job prospects at risk. Usually, you have an opportunity to explain why you did, and some employers will look upon a record of principled civil disobedience favorably. Also, the further along in your career that you are, the less likely this is to hurt your career in any way.

Responsibilities at work/home and court appearance(s)  You will probably have to show up in court the weekday following your arrest. This is non-negotiable, so be sure you can get time away from other responsibilities.

Are there things I can do to help the action without risking arrest?

YES:  there are lots of important, non-arrest roles.  We will train you!

Support rally Participate in the regular stand-ins!

Jail support Take someone’s belongings before they are arrested, find out where they are taken, call anyone they asked you to call, be available to bring them home from the station.

Police liaison Be the person who talks to police, explains what we are doing, calms them down, gets needed information.  Usually a more experienced person.

Media spokesperson Be available to speak to any media folks who show up--know how to stay on message.

Legal observer You can be trained to do this.  You do not participate in the action, but you observe and take notes in case questions about who did what arise during court proceedings.

We will discuss all of these items (and more!) at our upcoming Direct Action training sessions on October 26th, November 4th, and November 12th. Please check back soon to register to attend one coming up! Please register for these sessions and signal your interest in participating on the above link.

 


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