I’d been looking forward to going to Charlotte as part of The Cop Block Tour, and based on the fact that five hours passed quickly from the start of the meetup to the conclusion of outreach downtown, I’d say that it was definitely worth the stop.
At a local establishment a number of us met, shared stories and lessons-learned from our own experiences, and brainstormed.
In addition to the obvious benefits of connecting in-person to make more-likely future collaboration, the founders of Charlotte Cop Block shared that they may soon be departing from the area, so others present were encouraged to get-involved with the offshoot.
Charlotte Cop Block
- (704) 287-8936
After the meetup a few of us walked north on Tyron to the busier downtown area where we did a lot of really good outreach – it was cool being able to talk in the same conversation about CopBlock.org and Charlotte Cop Block, to really underscore the fact that this is a decentralized project.
After offering literature to passerbys – usually with a statement that began with a friendly, “Can I share some information with you about how to better protect your rights during police interactions.” Or, after pointing-out that badges don’t grant extra rights, I found that pointing-out that “If something is wrong for me or you it can’t be right for someone based on their attire, we advocate filming any police interactions for transparency then if something does happen you can use the site to help get the situation in front of more eyes so we can support each other” really seemed to appeal to folks. Perhaps because it communicates that it’s not just them individually versus the police and the courts but that a growing community of good folks will support them.
We did a lot of outreach:
Including to some folks who work security at a big, downtown entertainment area. Though my initial attempt wasn’t successful, you can see how having a good tone and framing things can lead to a conclusion where friendly conversation and the sharing of ideas can take place:
And one of the things I found most-effective was, after establishing some report, inquiring if the person had a smartphone and if so, if they’d downloaded a free streaming app (at least four for the Droid and for the iPhone exist, see CopBlock.org/Apps for more and to download). I found that about half of those questioned were unaware of such a tool, though without exception, once a little demonstration was done, all were excited and many downloaded the app there on the spot.
I did a short recap after the outreach finished-up.
Next up, Asheville then west to Tennessee. See CopBlock.org/Tour for details.