Activists who are advocates for animals and veganism have varying degrees of tolerance for negative or hostile atmospheres. Many believe that consistently friendly outreaches will be more likely to achieve long-term change for the better, and prefer to not be around some of the standard chants, shaming of perceived animal abusers, aggressive exchanges with hecklers from the general public, and some other scenarios often encountered at demonstrations. Some activists are comfortable with the commonly encountered scenarios but are uncomfortable with high-intensity interactions that are unduly tense or potentially confrontational. Another issue is that many vegan activists feel less safe if authorities are upset with them, even if they are convinced the authorities are in the wrong.
To reduce the risk of activists finding themselves in events that they don't want to be in, and to encourage participation by activists who have lower tolerances for negativity or hostility, Southern California Vegetarians (SoCalVeg) is implementing a classification system for outreach and demonstration events based on the following two factors.
> Interaction rules: Friendly Interactions Only / Restrained Interactions Only / Uncertain Interaction Rules
> Safety Protocols: Likely Safe / Uncertain Safety
Organizers and organizations are encouraged to adopt the same or a similar system of classification of events and clearly state the classifications in all publicity for the events. SoCalVeg lists various veganism related events as a service to the vegetarian community. The submitters can specify the classification they prefer for the SoCalVeg listing, and SoCalVeg may refine it based on additional input from others. Activists who want more information about any particular event should contact the organizers. Organizers and participants should try to keep the events within the understanding of the classification for the events that the organizers claim, and also watch out for the safety of the participants. This will hopefully help more activists advocate for animals and veganism at events that are within their comfort zones.
Below is more detailed information on the outreach and demonstration events classifications.
>> Friendly Interactions Only: Organizers and participants are expected to ensure that all interaction by the participants is civil and friendly. This is regardless of whether the interaction is with the general public, law enforcement personnel, other participants, or representatives of the target of a protest. Organizers and participants are also expected to not use chants and signs that are unfriendly. Organizers and any participants so willing should help defuse any overt negativity or hostility involving participants, and if necessary, call law enforcement personnel to report a potential disturbance to the peace. This is regardless of whether the negativity or hostility is the fault of hecklers from the general public, participants, etc. Participants should cooperate with the organizers towards keeping the events reasonably comfortable for all the participants. Organizers must refer to the events as "Friendly Interactions Only" or other equivalent wording in all publicity. All publicizing should be done in civil and friendly ways, including avoiding derogatory remarks about the targets of protests or law enforcement. "Friendly Interactions Only" events can be relatively dull or very lively with friendly & positive songs, chants or playacting.
>> Restrained Interactions Only: Organizers and participants are expected to ensure that no interaction by the participants is unduly tense, confrontational or antagonistic. This is regardless of whether the interaction is with the general public, law enforcement personnel, other participants, or representatives of the target of a protest. There may be restrained but vocal condemnation of those perceived as animal abusers. There may be signs, chants or other communications that are significantly negative or hostile, but not the kind that can create an unduly tense or confrontational atmosphere. Participants should cooperate with the organizers towards keeping the events reasonably comfortable for all the participants. Organizers must refer to the events as "Restrained Interactions Only" or other equivalent wording in all publicity. All publicizing should be done in civil ways, including avoiding derogatory remarks about the targets of protests or law enforcement. Organizers and any participants so willing should help defuse situations that are likely to get unduly tense or confrontational.
The following are some examples of what should be avoided at "Restrained Interactions Only" events (and obviously this applies to "Friendly Interactions Only" events too).
> Use of inappropriate offensive language.
> Communications that may be perceived as intimidation by some (e.g., communicating "we know where you sleep at night").
> Getting in anyone's face in an unfriendly way.
> Following anyone too closely in an unfriendly way.
> Use of noise making devices like air horns.
> Making contact with the private property of the target of a protest in non-essential ways. (No knocking on doors or windows unless it is essential to do so, no rattling fences, etc.)
>> Uncertain Interaction Rules: This classification is used when SoCalVeg doesn't have sufficient trusted information to estimate that the organizers are committed to organizing "Friendly Interactions Only" or "Restrained Interactions Only" events. There may not be any designated organizers at these events. SoCalVeg cautions participants that interactions may or may not get unduly tense or confrontational.
>> Likely Safe: Organizers and participants are expected to reasonably ensure that the participants feel relatively safe. Organizers or designated legal observers should interact with law enforcement if and when appropriate. Participants should be instructed to direct inquiries from authorities to the organizers or the designated legal observers. In addition to common sense, participants need to be careful to not break any rules. E.g., do not block entrances, jaywalk, place stickers on lampposts or other public property, etc. In case of an unexpected civil disobedience or other illegal act in the vicinity of the event, organizers should try to watch out for the safety of those who aren't part of the illegal activity. Responsible organizers and any participants so willing should apply such vigilance at other times too. E.g., ensuring that no entrances or crosswalks are blocked, ensuring sufficient room for the flow of foot traffic, etc.
If at any time, for whatever reason, law enforcement personnel choose to impose restrictions on the event or require that the event be cancelled, the organizers are expected to notify all participants of the unexpected development immediately. If the organizers or participants choose to challenge the interpretations or decrees of the law enforcement personnel, they should notify all participants of the intention to challenge the law enforcement personnel and provide all the participants the opportunity to leave before mounting the challenge.
Organizers and participants should avoid situations and conduct that could needlessly raise the risk of discordance with authorities. The following are some examples of what should be avoided at "Likely Safe" events.
> Interactions that must be avoided at "Restrained Interactions Only" events. (This would necessitate that the event must also be classified as "Friendly Interactions Only" or "Restrained Interactions Only".)
> Marching into a private building not open to the public. (It may be fine to be there until the owners or their representatives ask someone to leave, but not everyone may hear the request or demand to leave.)
> Chanting (or other loud sounds) in residential zones, or any other place, in unreasonably loud ways or at inappropriate times.
> Chanting (or other loud sounds) on any campus when classes are in session in ways that may disturb classes.
> Attention grabbing tactics or media stunts that may cause discordance with authorities or make participants feel less safe, such as sitting down in walkways, burning fur coats, etc.
>> Uncertain Safety: This classification is used when SoCalVeg doesn't have sufficient trusted information to estimate that the organizers are committed to organizing "Likely Safe" events. Organizers may or may not be committed to watch out for the safety of the other participants. There may not be any designated organizers at these events. SoCalVeg cautions participants that there may or may not be a high risk of discordance with authorities.
Illegal activities: SoCalVeg doesn't really need to have this classification used for any event, as SoCalVeg doesn't want to know about them, and will not publicize any such events.
Disclaimers: SoCalVeg assumes no responsibility or liability for anything resulting from listing events, or affiliating with events, or classifying events, or organizing events. Unless the hosts or organizers of any events state otherwise, the hosts and organizers of the events assume no responsibility or liability for anything resulting from hosting or organizing the events, or from failures to host or organize the events. By classifying events as "Friendly Interactions Only", "Restrained Interactions Only" or "Likely Safe", and by participating in the events, organizers and participants assume certain moral obligations, but do not assume any legal obligations. Attendees participate at their own risk. Whilst SoCalVeg endeavors to ensure that the information provided by SoCalVeg is fairly accurate, SoCalVeg assumes no responsibility or liability for the consequences of any inaccurate or misleading information or classification. The classifications are not intended as legal advice, but as an estimate of what SoCalVeg anticipates the event to be. People concerned about legalities should use their best judgement and consult a lawyer. SoCalVeg is not an expert at determining safety, or the risk of discordance with authorities, or predicting the atmosphere of an outreach, or the ability of organizers to ensure adherence to interaction rules at any event. SoCalVeg will try to err on the side of keeping activists in an environment that will likely be at least as safe and free of tenseness as the classification entails. Activists who are more concerned about their freedom to communicate and interact with others however they choose to, should rely more on the organizer's estimate of the event, which may be different from SoCalVeg's estimate, and may also be different from the submitter's estimate. SoCalVeg lists various veganism related events as a service to the vegetarian community. Activists who want more information about any particular event should contact the organizers.
If and when someone submits an event for listing with relevant classifications, but SoCalVeg lacks belief in the accuracy of the classification or it differs from SoCalVeg's estimate of what the participants may encounter, then SoCalVeg may list it with a different classification. In these cases SoCalVeg plans to list the classifications that the submitter initially claimed somewhere in the details of the event. E.g., SoCalVeg may list an event as "Restrained Interactions Only; Uncertain Safety" and mention somewhere in the details of the event that the submitter claims that the event is "Friendly Interactions Only; Likely Safe", but SoCalVeg lacked belief in the submitted classification.
Examples of classifications:
> Fri, 23-Feb-1900 8PM: Veggie video outreach in Santa Monica. (Friendly Interactions Only; Likely Safe; Free).
> Sat, 03-Mar-1900 1PM to 4PM: Tabling at XYZ campus in Los Angeles. (Friendly Interactions Only; Likely Safe; May be parking fees $10).
> Wed, 07-Mar-1900 6PM to 8PM: Anti-vivisection demo in Los Angeles. (Restrained Interactions Only; Uncertain Safety; Free).
> Fri, 09-Mar-1900 10AM: Anti-circus demo in Anaheim. (Restrained Interactions Only; Likely Safe).
> Sun, 18-Mar-1900 11AM to 1PM: Anti-fur demo in Beverly Hills. (Uncertain Interaction Rules; Uncertain Safety).
Web site management - For Goodness