10 Rules for Hosting a Great Know-Your-Rights Event
So you’ve seen 10 Rules for Dealing with Police or BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters on the Internet or at an event. Now you want to share it with your community. This guide will put you on the right track.
Rule #1: Get a DVD
All we ask for is a $15.00 donation per DVD, and we’ll ship your order within 3 business days. I know for you college students that’s a lot of Ramen, but ask your friends to chip in a few bucks for a good cause.
Once you get your DVDs you do not need to obtain special permission from us to screen Flex Your Rights DVDs for educational purposes. Nor do we require you to pay a licensing fee. All Flex Your Rights materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. So if you don’t charge admission, you’re welcome to screen our DVDs for as many people as possible.
click here to begin your journey
Rule #2: Find a Venue
Any space with a screen and a projector falls into the category of “venue”. You might also try to find a fancy one with seats. This venue should also be a place where you can get permission to host a screening. (If you don’t get permission, that’s called “trespassing”. I don’t recommend that, but if you do, be prepared to flex your rights.)
If you’re a student reserving university space, be sure to approach the right administrators and get the proper paperwork done on time.
Rule #3: Pick a Date
Be sure to choose one that doesn’t interfere with important dates or holidays.
Rule #4: Get a Lawyer
Not only is this great advice if you’re a suspect in a criminal investigation, but a local criminal defense lawyer is best equipped to handle the “can-they-do-that?” questions attendees are certain to ask. To find a lawyer who will be interested in helping, click here. Find the closest lawyer, then call to invite him/her to the event.
know-your-rights events are good for my business
Here’s how the lawyer call might go down…
Lawyer: Hello. This is [Lawyer].
You: Hi [Lawyer's Name], my name is [Your Name], I’m a [student/activist/taxidermist] from [Wherever], I’m hosting a know-your-rights event featuring a 40-minute screening of the film, 10 Rules for Dealing with Police. After the screening, I’m sure the audience will have lots of questions you could answer. Would you consider speaking at the event?
Lawyer: Sure. I can do it…
Be sure to get the lawyer’s email and cell phone, and ask him/her to bring business cards. After the call, send an email confirming the event’s time, date, and location. If the first lawyer says no, try the next-closest one. You shouldn’t have to try too many lawyers before one signs on.
Rule #5: Get a Cop Too
If you really want to make it an event to remember, you might also consider inviting the local police to send someone too. The combination of a cop and lawyer on the bill will help create a buzz.
If your local police aren’t helpful, you might consider inviting a speaker from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These cops understand heavy-handed drug war policing that violates peoples rights. In fact, they were the ones doing it!
10 Rules technical consultant and LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin loves Flex events
Rule #6: Create Fliers
The design is up to you. All I can say is that all-text fliers are lame, so I recommend featuring a striking or funny image with the basic info text.
flier by FSU’s John Mola
Secure the fliers in places where lots of people will see them.
Rule #7: Use New & Old Media to Create a Buzz
Technically, a flier is a piece of media. But you should also consider using high-tech stuff, especially if it’s free. This means you’ll want to create a Facebook event, alert your friends via Twitter, SMS, etc.
As for you kids who prefer text to talk — if you want more people to attend your event, ask them with your larynx… on vibrate. Seriously, the best way to convince someone to attend your event is to ask them personally. This means also calling all of your contacts one-at-a-time starting with Aaron Aardvark all the way to Zoey Zygote. And if there’s no answer, you should leave a [gasp!] voice message with the info.
In addition to the Internet media, you’ll want to use a press advisory that you can email to local print, radio and TV reporters.
Rule #8: Beware of PCs/Macs/software updates/Malware/cables (AKA: Nothing Works)
On the day of the event, be sure to get to the location at least one hour early to set up. When the audio or video doesn’t work, this tends to be the usual amount of time it takes to bribe the AV guy to help diagnose the problem, install new programs, and for you to run to Radio Shack to fetch a required bifurcated-coaxil-adapter-dongle.
Trust me, I’ve sat through a 100-person screening where the audio came through a laptop speaker. Not cool.
Rule #9: Follow-up
Be sure to thank people who helped make your event a success. If you were raised right, you’ll send written thank-you letters. If you weren’t, sincere thank-you emails will suffice. Also be sure to thank any reporters who cover your event. And, of course, please email us at info@flexyourrights[dot]org to share any media you may have earned. We like to collect evidence of our usefulness.
Rule #10: Repeat
Screen it again next semester or next year. You’ll be impressed by how 10 Rules continues to be brand-new to people who still haven’t seen it.