The training was facilitated by Kalaya'an Mendoza (Kala from here on), director of the US Programs for Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP). NP is a global civilian protection agency - to protect civilians in violent conflicts through unarmed strategies, build peace side by side with local communities.
The training focused on skillsets that can be used during community events as well as for personal safety, or to help out someone in distress.
Paying attention to our own trigger points, boundaries and anchor points were emphasized. Although the process will be different for each individual, making a habit of it is crucial to staying safe in high-stress situations, and to avoid burnout. These include:
· Make time to center yourself the night before and morning of a protective action and identify an anchor point—a place of emotional safety.
· Before arriving, take a few moments to consider boundaries and potential triggers, and remember your anchor point.
· Make time to discuss your boundaries with your team when you meet up before the action.
· Remember to check in with your team throughout the day and make time for appropriate aftercare.
Another helpful tool to act on people’s observations and judgment is known as the OODA Loop:
· Observe: draw from your own observations and information you have collected from trusted sources
· Orient: Filter and analyze your information
Decide: With your insights, identify the best available response
· Act: act on your decision, evaluate if action was correct
It was pointed out that a distraction to create a moment of pause and ease the conflict may be enough to deescalate a situation. Some such examples:
· Compliment or money talk– “You look great!” or “Look! $100 bill on the floor.”
· Dancing or singing
· Pretending you lost something, asking people to find it
· Asking for the time
· Asking for directions
The aim with de-escalation is not to win over someone with whom you disagree, but it is to deescalate to a point where everyone can be safe instead of further escalating volatile situations.
And, steps to keep in mind when responding to questions and verbal attacks:
Anyone with questions or need more information can check out NP’s or report hate crime incidences on toll-free helpline 1-833-454-0148. -