Marchers prepare for Saturday with Active Bystander Intervention courses
SILVER SPRING, Md. - We’re just hours away from the Women's March on Washington, and safety is on mind.
"Southern Poverty Law Center did report that, in the ten days after the election, there were almost 900 reported incidents of hate speech,” said Amy Ard, Founder of Swamp Revolt. “I think that's why there are so many people attending these trainings."
One of those reported incidents came from a church that was defaced with sayings like, “Trump nation. Whites only.”
Pastor Robert Harvey stood with more than 150 others at a Nonviolence and Active Bystander Training.
There were 23 training sessions held Friday with nearly 2,000 participants registered across the DMV area.
"[It's] something to do that's not condoning this presidency. [It's] something productive, [and we are] learning new skills,” said Amanda Armstrong, training participant.
“I'm also here, really, to learn some things that I can take back to where I work. I work for Montgomery County,” said Seana Miller, training participant.
The training encouraged people to be an active bystander, de-escalating a conflict by engaging the target (not the attacker), documenting the incident with your phone and offering the target support.
"We want our 2,000 people dispersed throughout the crowd [at the march], prepared to de-escalate potential situations,” said Tameka Bell, Nonviolence and Active Bystander Trainer.
The Women's March on Washington steps-off at 10 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Independence Avenue and SW Third Street.
"We are at a moment where those of us who truly believe in loving our neighbor have to live it out, and it goes beyond tomorrow,” said Bell.