On Tuesday January 31 at 9 a.m. there is an opportunity to show up and stand with Texas Muslims who are engaging in participatory democracy. This call to action is unique–this is not an “Indivisible” action or protest or rally. It’s a call to stand with marginalized members of our community as they engage in our democratic process.
Texas Muslim Capitol Day is a biennial citizen lobby day taking place at the Capitol. This year’s lobby day is happening in what is probably the most hostile climate for Texas Muslims since 2001.
“Peaceful protectors” will gather to create a buffer zone between the event’s participants and the expected counter protesters during their morning program on the Capitol steps. Representatives organized by Rep. Celia Israel and other faith leaders are expected to join in the protective action.
This is a chance to stand, indivisible, with Texans whose rights are under attack.
From the organizers:
Code Of Conduct –
#1 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS – This is literally and figuratively the #1 rule. We are not there to engage, debate, one-up etc. We are there to form a human chain and act as a barrier. Any communication that might possibly need to happen between Peace Observers and Protesters will be handled by designated liasons.
#2 Remember that you are indirectly representative of the event and the community taking part – We are standing in solidarity with a marginalized community and thus we are not acting as individuals and we must consider the way our behavior could reflect on the people with whom we want to show solidarity.
#3 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS
#4 Keeping #2 in mind, even amongst each other, please keep language, gestures, etc G-rated.
#5 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS
#6 Keeping #2 in mind, please wear clothing with only G-rated messages (or no messages, obviously.)
#7 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS
#8 Do not bring signs, banners, flags, etc. – This is NOT a counter protest.
#9 DO NOT ENGAGE PROTESTERS
Q: What time do we meet up?
A: 9 a.m. in front of the Capitol (south steps). The morning program will end before lunch.
Q: Is there anything else I can do?
A: Nope! Just invite people to help and show up. Keep it simple.
We’ll be there!
How long do you expect to need people to be there? IE, if I am in a meeting until 11 am, should I come afterwards? Thanks.
I think they are planning to wrap up the event on the steps by lunchtime. If you’re able to make it, your presence will be welcome.
I’ll be there
Would love to be there, but I work 8:00-4:30. Will be there in spirit.
I’ll be testifying at a hearing at the same time. I hope it will be quick and I can come and join you.
I will be there.
I’ll be there, in my clergy collar, and bringing as many with me as I can.
I plan on being there.
I will be there
Where is the best place to park for this?
I’ll be there.
At last, everyone can see what progressives have been warning against for half a century. Fascists are now in control of both the legislative and executive branches and drool in anticipation of taking over the judicial as well. These are racist, xenophobic, homophobic nazis. Where will you stand when history looks back upon this era, if there is anyone to look back? What is the essence of American patriotism, flag waving bigots or a rainbow of courage and brotherhood?
I plan to be there.
I will be there.
I will be there. My fiancé, as well.
I’ll be there!
I plan to be there.
I’ve been helping the organizers disseminate information about the event and thought I’d leave a few last minute tips. Those of you on the mailing list may recognize some of it.
DO NOT BRING SIGNS
DO NOT BRING CHILDREN – NO ONE UNDER 18 PLEASE
When: Tuesday January 31, 9am – 12 noon
Where: The south steps of the Capitol (on the west side)
Who: Peace Observers should be over 18. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN. We don’t expect any physical confrontation, but it is a possibility we need to be prepared for.
What NOT to wear: DO NOT WEAR any political clothing, or anything that could antagonize (we aren’t going there to protest or make a political statement, we are going there to show solidarity). The only approved exception to this rule is the simple “I Stand with My Muslim Neighbors” t-shirt.
DO NOT WEAR earrings, necklaces or anything that could be pulled.
What to bring: Bring bottled water, hand sanitizer and tissue. Carry ID, and bring a cell phone. DO NOT BRING SIGNS or anything that could be seen as a weapon.
What to do: We will be making a human wall around the attendees and face outward. We are doing this to try to dissuade anyone from rushing the stage. We will face outward toward the protesters.
We will hold hands and link arms if necessary but the ultimate goal is to take on the brunt of any negativity and to DE-ESCALATE. (We’re not police or security).
DO NOT ENGAGE WITH THE PROTESTORS. Do not let them get to you or push buttons (I know it will be hard). And if they are getting to you ask to trade spots with someone. If you need to take a few minutes rest, do so – we want folks on the line to feel strong.
We represent many congregations and other groups, as well as indirectly representing Muslim Texans. Let’s be good representatives by keeping our language G rated and not making this about us.
PRESS: If someone with a microphone and / or camera asks, “Why are you here,” we are advising everyone to say “I’m here to stand with my Muslim neighbors” (or something similar). Reporters seem to like to buttonhole white folks and white men especially and get them talking about these types of events. If this should happen to you, resist the urge to respond at length – this event is about Muslim Texans, let the press talk to the Muslim Texans if they want to hear all about the event.
We will have 5 De-escalation Teams for you to call upon if non-engagement isn’t working. Report to a de-escalation team if you are having any problems. In the worst case scenario, we will have someone posted to act as a runner for us and the assigned security.
We will have Legal Observers as well! Legal Observers are designated non-participants there to observe interactions between our Peace Observers and law enforcement. In the unlikely event that there is an arrest, Legal Observers will take the responsibility of gathering badge numbers, names, and coordinating with friends to ensure speedy release and optimal preparedness for any charges that might be faced.
IF YOU SEE ANYTHING- whether it’s aggressive behavior, or an altercation (between protestors, police, or anyone it there), get the De-escalators and / or Legal Observers if possible. If you can’t get help, take out your phone and FILM, if you can. Get badge numbers, descriptions and any other pertinent information. This can be used to help people on our side.
REMEMBER We aren’t security or the police and we are planning for WORST CASE SCENARIO. We don’t foresee any violence happening or any fighting but want to make sure everyone is safe! (Hence, all of these instructions).
About to leave Houston to join you guys.
Do we check in with anyone when we get there this morning?
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