Most of the oppressive acts we witness are not organized events like an ICE raid or a Klan rally. They are random acts of cruelty we witness in public places. When faced with such situations we may find ourselves paralyzed with uncertainty. How can we show our solidarity with the targeted person without escalating the situation? How can we keep everyone safe despite the fear and anger we may be feeling?
At the excellent Bystander Intervention Training cosponsored by YARR and the Muslim Solidarity Group, the presenters from CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) taught the attendees the strategic use of proximity and attention to protect the target without engaging the attacker.
This illustration neatly summarizes the recommended approach, should you find yourself witnessing harassment. Though the illustration is of an Islamophobic event, the strategy would obviously apply to any hate based attack weather racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic anti-immigrant or other.
Many thanks to French artist, Maeril, for the use of her illustration.