Peaceful Protest Gear-Idea Lab

Hello Art Fans, how are this fine day? Looking for something non political to distract? Well, this isn’t the post about politics, it is however about NonViolent Protest.

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In our home, we do not deny reality. We don’t dwell on reality too much either. What’s the point? Awareness is fine, I am aware of the global to local situations…it’s soul sickness, everywhere I look, really.  It’s one of the reasons I throw love around willy-nilly. I have had my time on the street as a homeless teenager. I spent 18 hard months, fighting to stay alive in the late 80’s. Times were different but the street, it stays the same, now it’s just more crowded out there. I ate from dumpsters. I slept in doorways, parks and bridge underpasses. I went to churches for food and showers and clothes and medicine. Shelters are a great place to get robbed, raped, or bed bugs, not a great place to get the most important thing for a homeless person…safe sleep. I have a gear to grind on the social justice issue. I have a gear to grind on poverty and disability and my children’s future. I have marched for gay rights, women’s rights, food/land/water rights, civil rights, human rights, and the economic terrorism of our government/big banks. I can no longer join in the marching. My body is tired and broken. That too is reality.

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What I can do is remain present and calm and loving and ACTIVE! Bill agree’s, totally. To that end we spent some time thinking about the 10,000 mile view of what is happening in our world. When we pulled back from our opinions and outrages we saw an instant weak spot in the collective. We need to disseminate two things… a Code of Conduct for Ethical Nonviolent Protest and Basic Gear Ideas for self care/protection/helping in a protest situation, in these riot gear clad, militaristic police days.

As a cliff note to the above Code of Conduct link: here is the part about non violence:

Non-violence

  •  We will do no harm.   We respect the property of others.
  • We will not use highly emotive  messages that are designed to incite anger, hate, or violence.
  • We do not condone the abuse of  power by protest organizers or protesters.
  • We will respect the law and the police.
  • We will understand the possible harm and risks of collateral damage involved in protest and resolve to avoid them.
  • We will seek to keep the media or public debate on the issues and not any disruptive or violent behaviors of  either the protesters or police.

As you can see there are links a-plenty, Google is your friend for education on these and many more issues…check it out. I find learning to be a wonderful way to push back  at the extensional dread, that and making art…that helps too.

We also wanted to address basic self care and safety protocols for being in a protest in these dark times. 

Cliff notes (again):

What to wear:
* Comfortable, protective shoes that you can run in.
* Shatter-resistant eye protection (ie. Sunglasses, swim goggles)
* Weather-related gear (ie. Rain gear or sun hat)

What to bring:
* Lots of water in a plastic bottle, to drink
* Energy snacks
* A small medi-kit with bandages, plasters, tape etc.

(we add) a handkerchief/bandanna soaked in apple cider vinegar in a sealed plastic bag for tear gas, goggles with a seal around them, wet wipes, a eye wash kit and a backpack worn on the front of your body, pack an extra set of clothes/poncho in a waterproof bag in it/ to take the impact from batons without being injured as badly.
* Just enough money for pay-phone, food, transportation.
* Watch, paper, pen for accurate documentation of events, police brutality, injuries.
* Inhaler, epipen, insulin or other meds if applicable.
* Several days of prescription medication and doctor’s note in case of arrest.
* Menstrual pads, if needed. Avoid using tampons – if you’re arrested you may not have a chance to change it (tampons left in for more than six hours increase your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome)

What not to do:
* Don’t wear things that can easily be grabbed (ie. Dangly earrings or other jewellery, ties, loose hair)
* Don’t go to the demo alone, if you can help it. It is best to go with an affinity group or some friends who know you well.
* Don’t forget to eat food and DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
* Don’t drink alcohol before a demo.
* Don’t take drugs before a demo or carry them with you. This includes cannabis.
* Don’t bring any ID, if possible.

We are making stuff. We made this prototype personal size shield/sign carrier.

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nifty, right? You can attach a home made sign to the front and basically hide it. You can also use it as an image and put it on your backpack and use it as a non obvious protection for your chest or back. We have been watching the protests since the Occupy movement began and over and over we see people getting beaten, gassed, maced, tasered, water cannoned, and sound blasted. In all kinds of situations all across the country. Police commonly show up to protests with riot gear and military grade vehicles. Nonviolence doesn’t mean let yourself get the crap kicked outta of you. Simple protection devices like, ear plugs, head gear, small non weapon shields, protective clothing are important things to keep yourself and your friends/crowd mates safer. Be safe! Stay aware of your surroundings, stay on the edge of super large rowdy crowds, know when to leave. Document your experience.

I made this painting of the symbol we morphed together from free clip art images…I just kept layering them in different ways to come up with the combo. I like it. I don’t claim to invent any of it but I did play around until I had this unique image.

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This is oils on canvas “the Stand” 16″ x 20″. Available for purchase, if it belongs to you let me know. This isn’t about making money for us it’s art as protest. So, if someone wants to own it great but I am not “trying” to sell any of these things.

We are also putting together protest drums, backpacks that are pre-packed with basic supplies needed in today’s protests and a helmet/megaphone combination that should be pretty cool too. We have ideas people, ideas galore. Art is awesome.

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I gotta go ignore the media and make some money to feed my kids and pay my mortgage. Needy needs must be attended too. I have not felt well for a few weeks now, my pain levels are Not level. It’s not fun…but it is what it is and I will continue to do as I do. Love to everyone, thank you for being here today.

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