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Learn How to Intervene as a Bystander to Hateful Speech and Acts

Learn or refresh yourself on strategies for how to diffuse hateful situations as a bystander.

The racist terrorist attack on public transit in Portland, Oregon in May that left two men dead and a third wounded raised awareness about bystander training. The passengers who became victims confronted the ranting man directly when he accosted two young women who appeared to be Muslim, and continued to do so after he made death threats against those who tried to de-escalate the situation.

Those who offer bystander training have said that the Portland men didn’t do anything wrong. It would be a shame if the incident scared people off from confronting people who spew hate in public spaces.

Here are a bundle of resources that will help you learn how to intervene when you witness hateful situations.


Start with Maeril’s now-classic cartoon on what to do if you witness Islamophobic harassment.


Hollaback, a movement devoted to stopping street harassment, offers digital bystander intervention training for a modest fee:


Read the text of a speech on Bystander Intervention Training given by folks at the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition of Maryland:


See if Collective Action for Safe Spaces is doing a bystander intervention workshop near you, or request one:


For background, read a local news account of the Portland attack:


And read a Slate article about bystander training in the wake of the attack:


Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Thwart a Constitutional Convention by Electing Democrats to State Legislatures

Thwart any plans the Republicans might have to call a Constitutional Convention by helping to elect Democrats to state legislatures–your state’s, and other states. 

You know the importance of electing Democrats at all levels–federal, state, and local. You’ve read our blog posts on state-level legislative elections, and you might have done something to help. But there’s another reason to stay alert to state legislative elections, both in your state and in other states, and work to ensure that Democrats get elected.

The country can call a Constitutional Convention if two-thirds of the states band together and ask for one. Such a convention would allow its members to amend or even rewrite the Constitution.

What’s the problem? In order to call a Constitutional Convention, 34 states would have to  pass bills in their own legislatures to ask for one. A total of 38 states are needed to pass any measures cooked up at the convention.

As of mid-2017, 32 states have Republican-controlled legislatures, and 24 of those states have Republican “trifectas”–Republican governors AND a Republican-controlled legislature. Democrats have only six trifectas, and six more legislatures are split.

Worse, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, has been steadily working toward changing the state legislative landscape to open the door to a Constitutional Convention. It’s agitating for a balanced budget amendment–which would prevent Congress from passing a budget that increases the national debt.

To lay it out plainly: If a Constitutional Convention happens anytime soon, it will be dominated by Republican-leaning states, and will almost certainly be dominated by measures that reflect Republican and conservative points of view. They could write amendments that bans gay marriage, or abortion. They could augment the second amendment in a dangerous way. Heck, they could rewrite the first amendment to curtail protests. They could get up to all sorts of nasty shenanigans. That’s not to say their amendments will convince 38 states to vote in favor, but still.

You can thwart this in many ways.

First, learn which party, if any, controls your state legislature, and assess the strength or weakness of the party’s control.

If your state is controlled by Democrats, learn how to strengthen the party’s control by increasing their numbers. This might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

If your state splits control between the parties, see what you can do to broaden and boost Democratic control. Again, this might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

If your state is controlled by Republicans, you will want to commit time and money to increasing the number of Democrats, especially if your state has a Republican trifecta.

If you want to help affect legislatures beyond your state, target states with Republican trifectas and do your damnedest to break them.


Learn about upcoming state elections through Flippable:




Read about Constitutional Conventions, the modern pro-convention movement, and what’s at stake:


Check this Wikipedia page to see which party, if any, controls your state legislature:


Read about how Republicans now control many state legislatures:


Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Save This Tool for Tracking MoC Appearances Near You


You know how important it is to attend Town Hall meetings, public forums, and other events where your members of Congress appear in person to speak with their constituents and take questions.

Some clever, determined, energetic people have created the Town Hall Project 2018. It evolved from a spreadsheet of all the events scheduled by MoCs, be they Town Hall meetings, district office hours, ticketed events, or conference call-Town Halls. Now all you have to do is plug in your zip code and voila! It’ll show you all the relevant events happening within 75 miles.

Save this tool for tracking events where your members of Congress will take your questions and meet with you:


Like the Town Hall Project 2018 Facebook page:


Follow the Town Hall Project 2018 on Twitter at the handle below and the #TownHallProject2018 hashtag:




Action Alerts · Postcard Campaigns

Comfort Bresha Meadows with Postcards

Send messages of love and support to Bresha Meadows, a teenage victim of domestic violence who shot and killed her abusive father, and recently accepted a plea deal that will lead to her release.

Meadows was 14 in July 2016 when she killed her father, Jonathan, who had directed physical and verbal abuse against her, her mother, and her brothers and sisters for years. Meadows ran away several times but was returned home each time.

A public outcry, led by the #FreeBresha campaign, prevented the Ohio courts from trying Meadows as an adult, which could have yielded a sentence of 25 years to life. She spent nine months in jail after her arrest, which worsened her depression and her PTSD. In May, she agreed to a deal where she pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for 60 more days at an Ohio juvenile detention center, followed by six months in a counseling center near her home and two years’ probation. Because she is under 18, she will have a chance to seal her arrest record and ultimately have it purged.

Meadows has been through a lot in her young life. You can cheer her by sending her postcards that reflect your love and support.

Mail them to:

Bresha Meadows
c/o Ian N. Friedman, Esq.
Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C.
The IMG Center
1360 E. 9th Street, Suite 650
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

#FreeBresha supporters also set up a GoFundMe campaign for her, to cover the expenses of the six months in counseling and other needs. It has reached its $150,000 goal, but is still accepting donations:


Read more about Bresha Meadows and her case (Warning: Some stories include descriptions of the violence she witnessed and suffered):


Action Alerts · Community Activism

Read This Moving Piece On the Challenges Ex-Evangelicals Face

Read Where Do Ex-Evangelicals Come From?, a moving, insightful piece on the challenges and baked-in difficulties of leaving an evangelical Christian community.

Christopher Stroop is an ex-evangelical who writes the blog Not Your Mission Field. His June post provides a cogent look into the evangelical mindset, and why it is so incredibly tough and traumatic for those raised in an evangelical community to leave it. (This relates back to politics in that evangelicals and fundamentalists embraced Trump in overwhelming numbers; the rigidity of their worldview is a feature, not a bug.)

If you have friends who have left or are trying to leave an evangelical community, it will help you see what they’re up against (it’s a lot). It also offers advice on how to help them in their journey out. Key passage here:


“With respect to those you may know who may be thinking of leaving, or who are leaving, or who have recently left, offer them your care, empathy, and support. Listening to them is more important than anything you can say to them, but do let them know that there is meaningful life outside fundamentalism, and that they do not have to give up faith in Jesus or Christianity altogether in order to leave behind the toxic fundamentalist variety. It is my firm conviction that we must validate both religious and non-religious paths out of fundamentalism. Finally, in order to reach and help those you do not know personally, do what you can to highlight ex-Evangelical and ex-fundamentalist voices and stories so that those who are doubting or looking for a way to leave can become aware of the possibilities and of the resources available to them. For many of us, knowing we’re not alone and connecting with others are key to healing.”


Read Where Do Ex-Evangelicals Come From?:

Where Do Ex-Evangelicals Come From?


Visit his web page:


Donate to Christopher Stroop:


Follow him on Twitter:


Action Alerts · Elections · Vote with your Dollars

Sign On to It Starts Today and Help Fund ALL Democrats Up for Election in 2018

Sign on to It Starts Today, a nonprofit PAC that will give money to ALL 468 Democrats up for election and re-election to the House and Senate in 2018.

The notion is this: You donate a minimum of $4.68 a month, every month, until we know who all the Democratic candidates are (aka once the primary candidates are chosen). That sum represents a penny for each of the 468 seats that are open in 2018–all 435 House seats and 33 Senate seats–but you can give more if you want.

Once the Democratic candidates are named, It Starts Today will send each a lump sum to start and then weekly payouts up until the election. Everyone gets the same amount, be they a high-profile Congressional legend or a greener-than-green rookie. Founder Jonathan Zucker hopes that through delivering the 468 candidates the same amount of funding, It Starts Today can lift the Democratic party’s fortunes overall. As of July 1, it had raised $453,000 for Democratic candidates.

Zucker has also estimated that if each person who donated to the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton gave $5 per month, starting in January 2017, It Starts Today could award $2.5 million to EACH 2018 Democratic candidate for Congress.

In the past, OTYCD advised readers to start a 2018 fund, and recommended putting away at least $2 per week with the ultimate aim of helping non-Trumpish candidates win or hold office. If you have trouble saving, or want to augment your saving efforts, It Starts Today might be just the thing for you.


See the It Starts Today webpage:


Like It Starts Today on Facebook:


Follow It Starts Today on Twitter:



Read about the efforts of It Starts Today:


*Disclosure. Ben from It Starts Today emailed us in May, told us about It Starts Today, and asked us to consider writing about it. We did, and we did.

Action Alerts · Stand Up for Norms · Vote with your Dollars · Stand Up for Civilization · First Amendment, Defending a Free Press

Support the Committee to Protect Journalists

Support the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent nonprofit that defends the rights of journalists to report the news without reprisal.

We at OTYCD knew we would devote a post to the CPJ at some point. Trump’s July 2 tweet threatening CNN forced our hand.

Since its founding in 1981, the CPJ has vigorously defended journalists around the world from all sorts of threats. At its core it is devoted to promoting and defending the value of accurate information in a free society. It tracks how many journalists are killed for simply doing their jobs, how many have been jailed, and how many are missing. It monitors the levels of censorship in various countries. It shines a light on attacks on the press. It issues safety guides and dispatches emergency response teams to journalists and media crews working in dangerous areas.

The CPJ does good, necessary work. Please support it.


Visit the CPJ website:


Like the CPJ on Facebook:


Follow it on Twitter:



Donate to the CPJ: