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Tips about language

We influence the stories we tell by how we tell them, and the stories influence people and politics.

The following tips apply to yourself and can help others as well. You can reach out to your local communities and media, and make a difference by sharing this guidance for responsible journalism. You do not need to amplify the rhetoric of politicians and pundits, and you can hold them to account for what they say.

  • Be thoughtful about how you frame actions you witness and report.
  • Stay with the facts as you know them. Don’t speculate, don’t make assumptions, and don’t leap to conclusions.
  • Do not reduce a complex situation to a sound bite or an oversimplified cause-and-effect.
  • Do not place a group of people in one pool, labeling many with one label or “othering” them.
  • Use factually accurate descriptive words. For example:
    • self-organized armed groups are not “militias”
    • “protests” are not the same as “mobs”
    • “protestors” may be but are not necessarily any of: “militants,” “far-right” or “far-left,” “white supremacists” or “anarchists” etc.
    • Groups of protestors are likely to be quite diverse in their makeup, opinions, and motivations.
    • do not label people or groups as “terrorists” unless they have been listed or labeled as such by an authoritative source that is using the term in a researched and responsible manner
  • AVOID
    • sensationalist language when describing violence (e.g., “violence erupted,” “tensions spilled over”), which can fuel anger and fear.
    • words that are divisive and call in or normalize a war mentality, such as “enemy,” “the other side,” and “defeat”
    • "exceptionalist" language such as "this is not Kabul” or “you’d expect that in Baghdad, not here"
    • inflammatory predictions such as “this is the death of our democracy”
  • DO consider context and ask others, particularly journalists, to do the same — for example, about the root causes of violence (poverty, racial inequity, increasing economic divide,  increased unemployment, disproportionate impact on minorities of access to health, education and housing, food and housing insecurity)
  • WHEN TAKING IN THE NEWS, consider the advice below from “On the Media.” You may click on the image to go to their page.
Banner Training Bios & Summaries-1
Banner Training Bios & Summaries-2
Rachel Over Zero
Samantha Over Zero

Recordings of Trainings

MBBI hosted 2-part introductory trainings on the Basic (Part 1) and Advanced (Part 2) Concepts of Early Warning Early Response, as well as partnered with Over Zero about Building Resiliency Networks.

Watch all these videos in this folder here.
The password for each video is trust

 

Here is the list of our TRUST network calls:

  • On December 18, 2020, we hosted a panel with TRUST Network organizational Partners Nonviolent Peaceforce and Police2Peace, moderated by consulting partner Maria Stephan. For more information on the panel, click here. Watch the recording here: Protests, Police, and Preventing Violence The password is: trustnetwork
  • On January 15, 2021, we hosted Messaging in a Fractious Time: Digital and Non-Digital Communication that Moves Us Towards Peace Rather than Fans the Flames. For more information on the panel, click here. Watch the recording here: Messaging in a Fractious TimeThe password is: trustnetwork

  • On January 29, 2021, we hosted The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sec 10. For more information on the panel, click here. Watch the recording here: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sec 10 The password is: trustnetwork

  • On February 26, 2021, we hosted Mobilization and Political Violence: What Do We Know Now? For more information on the call, click here for the full report. Watch the recording here: Mobilization and Political Violence The password is: trustnetwork

  • On March 9, 2021, the Alliance for Peacebuilding hosted Community Responses to Violence -- From the Top Down and the Bottom Up. For more information on the call, click here. Watch the recording here: Community Responses to Violence

  • On March 12, 2021, we hosted Taking a Locally-Led Approach to Building Peace. For more information on the call, click here. Watch the recording here: Taking a Locally-Led Approach to Building Peace The password is: trustnetwork

  • On March 26, 2021, we hosted Strengthening Resilience and Peacefulness in the United States. For more information on the call, click here. Watch the recording here: Strengthening Resilience and Peacefulness in the United States The password is: trustnetwork

  • On April 9, 2021, we hosted Good vs. Toxic Polarization. For more information on the call, click here. Watch the recording here: Good Vs. Toxic Polarization. The password is: trustnetwork

  • On April 23, 2021, we hosted Guns in the U.S.: What you need to know to be able to have, or to facilitate, a sane conversation. For more information on the call, click here. Watch the recording here: Guns in the U.S. The password is: trustnetwork

Here is a running document list of other trainings amongst our partners.

Click here for the list.

Resources

  1. Overview of the TRUST Network: Download the Powerpoint here.

  2. Part 1, Basic EWER Concepts: Download the Powerpoint here.

  3. Part 2, Advanced EWER Concepts: Download the Powerpoint here.

  4. +Peace: US Capitol Violence Rapid Response Messaging Links: Download the List here

  5. +Peace: US Capitol Violence Rapid Response Peacebuilding Messaging PowerPoint: Download the List here

  6. Essential Partners 2020 Guide: Read the Resource List here.

  7. My Political Autobiography: Download the Resource Here.

  8. Download this Cultural and Narrative Peacebuilding Activation Guidebook and check out the ShineOnTheVote campaign provided by +Peace

  9. A Survey and Analysis of Statewide Election Recounts, 2000-2019, from FairVote - of 4,687 statewide general elections, only 27 have gone to a recount and of those only 3 have changed the outcome of initial results.

  10. FAQ on Department of Justice Announcement Authorizing Investigations into Allegations of Voting Irregularities, from Protect Democracy

  11. Post-Election Toolkit, from the National Task Force on Election Crises

Guides for Safety and De-Escalation at Rallies and Other Gatherings

  1. Deescalation Guide: Download the Guide here.

  2. Police2Peace Safety Tips: Download the Document Here.

  3. PTR Deescalation for Attendees

Articles

Read these timely and important articles and op-eds.

  1. To defuse political violence across the US, conflict mediators apply lessons from gang disputes and foreign elections - Joseph Bock, Marta Poblet, and Per Aarvik

  2. “I Didn’t Know If I Was Going to Be Seen Again”: The Escalating Risk of Mass Violence in the United States, by James Waller, PhD, Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Keene State College, New Hampshire
  3. America Is Having a Moral Convulsion - David Brooks

  4. Is civic violence escalating out of control? Ten ways we can stop it - Melinda Burrell

  5. International Election Monitors Arrive in the US for the Nov. 3 Poll - Allison Lecce

  6. Countering Violent Extremism, Three Moves Biden Should Make Now - Farah Pandith and Jacob Ware

  7. How the United States Can Step Back from the Brink - John Paul Lederach and Melanie Greenberg

  8. A Proven Formula for Protecting the Vote and Keeping Peace - Maria J. Stephan

  9. We need to prepare for ongoing insurrectionary violence and address its root causes - Maria J. Stephan

  10. Nonviolent Civic Action May Help Defend the Integrity of the Election - Maria J. Stephan

  11. About the role of third party and insider mediation in mass movements (lessons from international cases) - Maria J. Stephan

  12. Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech - Rachel Brown
  13. Three New Ways Civil Society is Protecting the US Election - Ashley Quarcoo

  14. Why We Shouldn't Call Militias, 'Militias' - Idean Salehyan

  15. How a community prepared for mass unrest, trained in de-escalation, and danced.
  16. I survived Liberia's civil wars. Here's my advice to American voters:  - Joseph Jimmy Sankaituah
    "Hateful rhetoric sows fear and division, which can lead to outright conflict. Take care, be vigilant and do not dismiss the warning signs of violence. One of the strange secrets of war is that ordinary life continues. Violent conflict can creep up on you, like the darkness of night arriving in gradual shades. The creeping menace can desensitize you until the hour is too late."