Students with protests signs in front of Healey Hall
home is here walkout

Participation in Social Action and Protest

Resources for Election 2020

We have had many inquiries from members of our community (faculty, staff, and students) who, true to the Georgetown spirit of Hoyas for Others, are interested in learning more about or are planning to engage in safe, direct and social action related to the Election. Information on this webpage has been compiled by staff members of the Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching & Service at Georgetown University (new window) (CSJ) based on their experiences and recommendations. While these opportunities are not being run or endorsed by CSJ or Georgetown University (unless where otherwise noted), we work directly with many of the partners on this list, and hope this list is a helpful resource for individuals considering various forms of direct action during this time.

Center for Social Justice Virtual Events

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 * 6:30 – 8:00pm EDT

Know Your Rights: Protest Rights Training with Georgetown University Law Professor Charisma Howell and representatives from the ACLU. RSVP via Eventbrite. Hosted by CSJ and GUSA Student Activism.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 * 7:00pm – 1:00am EDT

Center for Social Justice Election Night Community Care. RSVP via CampusGroups.


Know Your Rights: Protest Rights

Prepare before heading out into the streets. Read through the thorough American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Protesters’ Rights.

For Hoyas planning to engage in protest and social action around the Election, CSJ encourages you to create a small, trustworthy TEAM, as described by the East Point Peace Academy. CSJ does not recommend that you engage in protest or social action alone.

* There is a new Protest Hotline for Washington, DC from the Public Defenders Service. All calls are confidential and free, and the phone line is available 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know has been arrested, has an open arrest warrant, or has been questioned by law enforcement related to protesting in DC, the Protest Hotline is available to answer your legal questions. All calls will be handled by a criminal defense attorney. *


Know Your Rights: Stopped by Police

ACLU offers a description of what the law requires and offers strategies for handling police encounters.

Our colleagues at Canisius College, a fellow Jesuit University in upstate New York, have developed an informative pamphlet on What to Do When Stopped by the Police.


Minimize your Risks of COVID-19

Georgetown University Medical Center has developed detailed evidence-based suggestions and a harm reduction field guide for governments, organizers, and individuals to proactively take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19.

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise around the country and the world. Stay safe and healthy this Election season no matter how you participate. Read up on some tips and suggestions for taking extra precautions this November.


Useful Digital Security Technologies to Minimize Digital Risk

The need to communicate digitally is critical to successful, safe protest. Protect your communications from surveillance and intervention. It is likely that cell and internet service will be interrupted, especially in Washington, DC, with large-scale protests. Create a plan to “check-in safe” with family and friends.

  • Signal is a free and useful encrypted messaging app already. Setting a disappearing message timer can be helpful in making sure that sensitive information is erased on everyone’s phones.
  • Cryptpad is an encrypted alternative to Google suite. It offers shared documents, spreadsheets, polls and other useful tools for organizing. 
  • Jitsi is a free video conferencing app with encryption technology. It works best for small groups.

Nonviolent Direct Action

There are hundreds of effective methods of nonviolent protest and persuasion, intervention, and noncooperation. Read about 198 of these methods through the Global Nonviolent Action database at Swarthmore College.

Professor Eli McCarthy and the DC Peace Team offer virtual training. Check out the DC Peace Team schedule when includes workshops on Community Safety for Election Scenarios and Active Bystander Intervention.

Unfamiliar with nonviolence? Listen to episodes of the Cafe Miniseries from Nonviolent Peaceforce and reflect on the relevance of the global use of unarmed civilian protection for the United States context.


Election Protection

Protect your vote. Have a plan to vote if you do not have one already. There are several organizations that can help you make your plan. Check out Common Cause, the National Urban League, and vote411.org.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under the Law has collaborated with numerous organization to form a coalition called 866ourvote.org to ensure all voters have safe, equal access to participation in the democratic process.

Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection has created fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive. Check out ICAP’s fact sheet on voter intimidation so that you know what to do if you experience it.

The new bi-partisan National Council on Election Integrity has created a pledge through which every voter can demand that every vote be counted this November.


Be Informed

This Election has surfaced many social injustices related to citizen participation. You may have experienced these injustices. This may be new information for you. We encourage you to listen to your fellow Hoyas. Check out these blog posts at the GU Journal on Poverty Law and Policy and commit to being better informed about our democracy.