How to organize a 2009 Tea Party

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Tips for organizing a Chicago Tea Party-style event include a list compiled by Brendan Steinhauser.[1]

Background

This event was part of a national movement referred to as the Chicago Tea Party. The series of protests began in Seattle, Washington on February 16, 2009, later gaining momentum on Thursday, February 19, when Rick Santelli in an on-air segment on CNBC Business Newslive called for a "Chicago Tea Party." Santelli's remarks became known as the "Rant Heard 'Round the World."[2]

Organizers sprang up in many different quarters of the fiscally conservative movement online and include Top Conservatives on Twitter, Smart Girl Politics, Don't Go, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, American Spectator Magazine, the New American Tea Party and many others.[3]

Steinhauser's tips

  1. Pick a location, date and time in your town. I’d suggest main street at an intersection with lots of traffic.
  2. Tell your friends, family, co-workers and everyone else you know about the protest. Build an rsvp email list so that you can provide quick updates if something changes. You should also create a facebook group so that the group can communicate with one another.
  3. Make 5-10 signs with legible slogans that send a clear message to the public and the media. Write in BIG LETTERS.
  4. Call your local talk radio hosts and ask them to announce the location, date and time on the air for a few days leading up to the protest. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper announcing the protest. Email the bloggers in your area and ask them to post a notice about the protest.
  5. Write a press release and email, mail and fax copies to the local tv stations, radio stations and newspapers. Call the reporters that cover local events or politics and leave messages on their voice mail.
  6. On the day of your protest, show up with your group, be loud, visible, happy and engage the public. Wave your signs, make lots of noise and move around to get attention. If reporters interview you, give them some good sound bytes for their stories. Stay on message and keep your answers short and coherent.
  7. Bring sign-in sheets to capture the names, emails and phone numbers of everyone who attends the protest and/or says that they support what you are doing. You will then have a big list of people that can plan the next, much bigger and louder, event. Also bring handouts with one page of quick facts about why you are protesting in the first place.
  8. Add your pictures, video and an after-action report to your facebook group, and send this stuff to the bloggers and reporters that you originally contacted. Ask them to post the photos, story and video.
  9. Thank everyone who attended via email and phone, and set up a meeting to plan your next event. Now you have a list of people in your community that can help make the next protest huge. Encourage everyone to commit to bring at least one friend to the next protest.
  10. Organize a carpool and go find a friend in your neighboring town or county and help them organize a protest there. You and your people are now veterans and should be able to keep the momentum going around your area.

External links

References