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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

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:



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



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:


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Help the Bloomington, Minnesota Mosque That Was Bombed on August 5

Help the Dar Al Farooq Youth and Family Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was bombed on August 5, 2017.

Just before morning prayers early on August 5, the mosque was rattled by an explosion. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the office of the mosque’s president, who is also its Imam, was damaged in the blast. According to news reports, the FBI has said it was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED). As of August 6, it was searching for suspects.

The mosque’s supporters have started a GoFundMe page to repair the damage to the building. As of 1:30 pm EST on August 6, it had raised just over $14,000 of the requested $95,000. Update: As of August 20, it had raised more than $97,000 and met its goal.


See the GoFundMe page:


Read about the bombing incident:


Like the facility’s Facebook page: