At the heart of our work is the promotion of practical knowledge about the freedom of assembly. The Article 20 Network's free public resources and original content are written for audiences critical to the development of a healthy public forum. Resources are based on research into environments conducive to safe, peaceful, and effective assemblies and written and guided by experts from the intended audience.

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FOR Organizers and Activists

Nonviolence Commitment Card

FOR PARENTS

TALKING WITH KIDS ABOUT PROTEST (AGES 6 AND UNDER)

FOR TEACHERS

MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES UNITS

HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES UNITS

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NONVIOLENCE COMMITMENT CARD

This pledge to nonviolence is a re-creation and revision of the 1963 Birmingham Campaign “Commitment Card,” a pledge form that campaign volunteers were required to sign before they could participate in the nonviolent movement to end racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.

Spearheaded by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) – under the leadership of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth – the Birmingham Campaign was a pivotal event in the southern United States civil rights movement of the 1960s. Volunteers’ willingness to suffer violence – without retaliating in kind – as they confronted through nonviolent direct action the segregationist political, economic, and social structure of Birmingham, Alabama, enabled SCLC and ACMHR to win concessions from Birmingham leadership that proved to be the death knell for de jure racial segregation in both Birmingham and in the South generally. The campaign helped set the stage for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, two of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that this nation has adopted to protect and guarantee the rights of African Americans.

Like the original commitment card, this pledge is a declaration that nonviolence is ultimately a way of life that constitutes a loving refusal to cooperate with violence and injustice wherever they manifest, including in our own minds, in our own homes, and in our own communities. It is a promise to transform our world by transforming ourselves through daily practices of nonviolence. And like the commitments in the original card, the promises contained in this pledge are intended to serve as the guiding principles for, and underlying logic of, specific political campaigns, political organizing, and strategic, nonviolent direct actions.

This pledge was adapted by the Article 20 Network's Nonviolence Adviser, Alycee Lane, whose book, Nonviolence Now! (Lantern Books), further explores the Birmingham Campaign's "Commitment Card".


TALKING WITH KIDS ABOUT PROTEST (AGES 6 AND UNDER)

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As a result of the twenty-four hour news cycle and the ubiquity of social media, our naturally curious children are aware of public protests happening locally, across the country, and around the globe. However, young children can be overwhelmed by the noise and emotions that accompany even peaceful assemblies, while others may feel confused or alarmed to see adults challenging authority figures.

Whether you are planning to take your child to a demonstration or simply talking about these events at home, explaining the basic concepts of public protest will equip even very young children to understand what may otherwise feel frightening.

This guide, a synthesis of child psychology and human rights disciplines, meets children where they are and introduces concepts like nonviolence that you and I might take for granted. The guide provides a clear but broad framework that will generate fun and informative discussion.

The 4-page guide also includes optional extensions to discuss race and protest, to reflect on a child’s protest experience, and some book recommendations.


MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES UNITS

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WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

Introduce your students to the concept of free assembly and continue the theme through your class's discussion of women's rights, including contemporary topics like the Women's Marches and #metoo. Your students will learn the role that parades and marches have played throughout the history of women's rights movements in the U.S.

From the abolitionist movement up through today, women have shown the world what free assembly can accomplish. Women in the U.S. have shown a penchant for public demonstration more than any other group and have liberated themselves and others in the process. 

'Women's Rights and Freedom of Assembly' has four distinct lessons on: defining assembly, the Suffrage parades, feminism in the '60s, and the Women's March of 2017.

The unit culminates with students looking for commonalities between the Women's March and past women's rights movements. 

Lessons include:

  • Aligned to standards

  • An anticipatory set, class activity and closure

  • Differentiation ideas

  • Primary and secondary sources, media links, and handouts

 

Labor Movements and Freedom of Assembly

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Embed these four lessons into your class's discussion of labor movements. Your students will learn the role of free assembly in advancing the rights of workers in the United States.

Free assembly is most important to the underserved and the otherwise voiceless in our society. Because individual laborers can not negotiate with their employers on an equal footing, the labor strike - a mode of free assembly - has given workers addition leverage over the years.

'Labor Movements and Freedom of Assembly' has four distinct lessons on: defining assembly, defining labor, the role of strikes, and a look at the role of free assembly in contemporary labor movements.

The unit culminates with students planning their own labor action. 

Lessons include:

  • Aligned to standards

  • An anticipatory set, class activity and closure

  • Differentiation ideas

  • Primary and secondary sources, media links, and handouts

 

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CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS AND FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

From the abolitionist movement to the civil rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter, the freedom of assembly has played an ongoing role in the advancement of the rights of black Americans for centuries. Images of the March on Washington and the Selma March come to mind when we think of peaceful assemblies.

Introduce your students to the concept of free assembly by exploring some of these key moments in the struggle for equal rights for black Americans. Students will reflect on the organizing of protests, the treatment of protesters, and the role social media plays in organizing protests in the 21st century. Drawing comparisons and contrasts between different moments in the fight for civil rights, students will develop their understanding of free assembly.

Lessons include:

  • Aligned to standards

  • An anticipatory set, class activity and closure

  • Differentiation ideas

  • Primary and secondary sources, media links, and handouts


HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES UNITS

THE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY IN THE UNITED STATES

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This 10-day unit incorporates a discussion of the first amendment freedom to peaceably assemble into your United States History classes. What is free assembly? How have peaceful assemblies influenced the course of US history? Students will explore these questions and more.

Daily lessons invite conversation about the concept of assembly, its history and limits placed on public demonstrations. Each lesson contextualizes topics throughout your US History curriculum, from women's suffrage to the labor movement to the civil rights movements.

In addition to using the entire units, it is also possible to break them up into stand-alone lessons.

  • Aligned to standards

  • Each lesson includes an anticipatory set, class activity and closure.

  • Differentiation ideas and technology infusion

  • Primary and secondary sources, media links and handouts are all included

  • Culminating activity

  • NEW! Bonus lesson about 21st century protests and social media!

 

The Freedom of Assembly Around the World

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This 10-day unit incorporates a discussion of the first amendment freedom to peaceably assemble into your World History classes. What is free assembly? How have peaceful assemblies influenced the course of world events? Students will explore these questions and more.

Daily lessons invite conversation about the concept of assembly, its history and limits placed on public demonstrations. Each lesson contextualizes topics throughout your World History curriculum, from ancient Rome to Gandhi's Salt March to Tiananmen Square.

  • Aligned to standards

  • Each lesson includes an anticipatory set, class activity and closure.

  • Differentiation ideas and technology infusion

  • Primary and secondary sources, media links and handouts are all included

  • Culminating activity


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