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How to Organize a Solidarity Circle 

Join us in creating circles of solidarity to show support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and all survivors

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is bravely stepping forward and sharing her story before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, September 27 — despite the attacks, bullying, shaming, and attempted silencing. Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick have also shared serious accusations. There is only one path forward: Brett Kavanaugh must withdraw.

No survivor should have to face this alone. Our show of support comes with a demand that the Senate immediately stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Below is general guidance you can use to support your solidarity and press events. Feel free to get creative and use your voices in whatever way makes you, survivors, and allies feel powerful.

The Solidarity Circle concept was originated by Tarana Burke, Monica Ramirez, Joanne Smith and the National Womens Law Center. We thank them for this powerful vision of support and solidarity.

Who: Participants! Survivors, allies, local leaders, and more

What You’ll Need: 

  • Open space — enough to fit participants and form concentric circles

  • Water

  • Tissues

  • Candles for folks to hold  (if you're hosting outdoors after dark)

  • Signs that say “Believe Survivors” (available here)

  • List of speakers (if you have a speakout afterward or during)

Start organizing

1) Identify a location. 

Ask these questions: Is it accessible? Is it easy for attendees and press to locate and attend? Will it look like a full space when the expected number of attendees arrive?

2) Recruit a group of people to come together and gather in a large open space. 

Engage local organizations! Reach out to local domestic violence shelters, victim's advocates, campus organizations, and other groups that might be interested in participating. Choose a color that everyone can wear. Black has been the color supporters have been using most widely.

3) Consider drafting a press advisory and send to reporters.

You can also post to social media plan to amplify your event. Use this tool kit for images or sample posts. 

 

Holding the event

Organize participants to form supporting concentric circles.

  • The individuals who form the inside of the circle should be those who are closest to the issue of sexual assault and Dr. Blasey Ford. For example, that includes survivors or those who work on preventing sexual assault. 
  • The individuals who form the outer circles should be allies.
  • Once everyone is in the circle, take take turns reading statements written by Dr. Blasey Ford and her attorneys, lifting her voice up with yours.
  • If you’d rather tell stories, you can also ask 5-7 people in the circles to share their own personal stories or read poems that will show that you're standing in solidarity with Dr. Blasey Ford and all survivors.  
  • If you have consent from all participants, then take pictures. Tweet them at your senators using the hashtags #BelieveSurvivors#StopKavanaugh, and #DearSenators. Tag @PPact and we will try to help amplify.
  • Close the event by breaking the concentric circles and forming one giant circle. Read a poem, repeat an empowering chant, or feature one final powerful storyteller to make call to arms and provide inspiration that we can and we will #StopKavanaugh.

Don't forget: A participant's decision to share their story is theirs alone.

Some survivors decide not to disclose their status or their stories. Both choices are valid. In order to create a space of solidarity, make it clear that no one should feel pressured to share their story or disclose their identity as a survivor. Be sure to explain that the success of the event doesn't require anyone in the group to tell their own story.

If participants are willing and eager to share their stories, then check in with them about whether or not they feel supported in the atmosphere to do so, offer them an out at any time, and offer support for them afterwards.

Some survivors might not feel comfortable sharing their story with press during the event.

Designate a person as the point of contact for press. This person should oversee who and how press people approach participants, including ensuring that survivors are fully aware of the presence of press, give consent, understand that they have an out at any moment, and are comfortable sharing their story before they speak with the media.

If someone isn't comfortable in the event, you can always offer them another opportunity to engage after the event. Ultimately, the decision is the survivors, and they should not feel pressured or pressured to share with anyone.

More media tips

  • Advise your event early and repeatedly.

  • Pitch via phone call and email to reporters to cover the event.

  • Make follow up calls to confirm attendance.

  • Send out a press release afterward, include photos from event or quotes from coalition partners, if applicable.

  • Be sure to seek consent and offer anonymity for any survivor stories included in the follow up press release after your event.