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j0

Back in the day, I was involved in a campus protest that was more localized (getting our antiquated judicial board policies updated so that assault & date rape would be treated more seriously than violations of alcohol policy) so I'm not sure how to go about getting info or organizing on int'l causes, but I typed in ""campus activism" & "how-to"" on google and some interesting sites popped up: http://www.campusactivism.org/ & http://www.feministcampus.org/ among others. Can't vouch for them, but they may help.

Also, as a former editor on a campus newspaper, many moons ago, I can advise that finding a sympathetic ear on your campus newspaper can go a long way towards not only getting good coverage in the 'news' section, but Antigone could probably also write op-eds once she knew what her message was. And, if someone on the editorial board becomes supportive of her cause, that can lead to helpful editorials. Also, once Antigone has a better idea of what the goals are, she can arrange meetings with the administration to seek information on any university investments or funds in Saudi Arabia or Saudi Arabian related companies. As a student that might sound daunting, but Antigone should be able to make an appointment with any campus administrator. They really do like to talk to students as long as long as the tone of the meeting is respectful - which doesn't mean you can't go out and lambast them for what you found out during the meeting in the campus press or in speeches once the meeting is over & you've got your info. If for some reason, the administration is stalling in giving information, that's another good time to grab that sympathetic campus news person & use the power of the press. [Which is not to say, by the way, that campus newspapers are always agents of good, but they can be useful in trying to generate interest & in opening doors). Good luck Antigone!

alsis39

You may want to reach out to any Islamic groups on campus who may (or may not) be willing to help you get your message across in a way that is respectful of Islam while also protesting governmental imposition of this particular school of Islam on women in Saudi Arabia.

On a related note:

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=9&section=0&article=76521&d=20&m=1&y=2006&pix=community.jpg&category=Features

(This link comes courtesy the folks at the Green consciousness blog.)

Dave

I don't know Saudi Arabia directly, but I do know the countries to the north and south of it and have lived in Kuwait.

The best organization to get in touch with on any issue like this the Arab Womens' Solidarity Association. Website: http://www.awsa.net/

Another is the Muslim Womens' League which in the US is at http://www.mwlusa.org/
They would be able to tell her what issues have priority and actually in which countries there is a real need.

As far as organizing on campus, I think j0 provides some great points from which to start. AWSA I believe has a speakers list as well, so she might want to investigate that. Credit to Antigone. Taking on Saudi Arabia on any issue is a tough one.

Txfeminist

All of this is excellent advice. Do your homework first!!

Decide what key issue you want to tackle in your first action. Make it one key issue. Write a mission statement for your first action. Make a list of logistic questions you need to answer, such as location, permits, method of communication, how to deal with dissenters.

Get permission and or support from administration to do a rally or other action, if you can. Bring your key points and basic plan to show them you have thought it through. (if they are against it, that can be a rallying point too, although then your stakes become a little riskier).

Get necessary permits.

Publish an announcment for a meeting to organize your first action. Try to have at least three people willing to lead and mediate your first meeting. Do not deviate from the mission; when topic gets off point, bring it back to focus.

Allow people to speak their ideas but moderate the discussion. Give each person about five minutes then "pass the baton". You can do this figuratively or literally. Some groups like to use a "talking stick" or other object to create a visual cue for whomever "holds the floor". Brainstorm and collect ideas. Empower the group.

After the meeting you should winnow down the best ideas and proceed with your other organizers, unless you are lucky enough to have agreement in your meeting. Doesn't often happen.

After your meeting, publish again. Publish time, location, and message for your action. Use school newspaper, put up flyers, use word of mouth. Notify security or campus police in case you feel you will have a lot of dissenters.

Have another meeting to create signage, whatever you need to convey your message.

Bring your permit, your signage, and anything else necessary about an hour prior to your action start-time (or more if you think you need it). Be sure to have a central gathering location for people to rally around. Be sure to tell people arriving the rules. Be sure to emphasize at every point in your organizing and planning that you require PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION.

Bullhorns are useful, depending on the size of your crowd and your location.

This is all just off the top of my head.... you can get a lot more detailed than this. This is just a brief outline.

Katie

This is an interesting thread to me because just this morning I came across this story http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5183
which absolutely sickens me. I have written to Amnesty International, and as a result of this thread, the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, and am interested to see what other ideas for action spring up. In fact, a story such as this might provide a focal point for action (I know it isn't in Saudi Arabia, but it's certainly a related issue), and one that would rally the support of most Muslim women (and men?) because of its obvious cruelty and extremism. It would also be so tremendously gratifying if a successful campaign were launched on her behalf--a very measurable outcome too.

Emma

I think the advice above is really good.

I would also recommend having clearly identifiable stewards, to keep the crowd organised.

Organisations that have any connection with your cause (violence against women orgs, labour movement orgs) might also wish to have solidarity stalls at your event - to provide information about their own activities - perhaps in exchange for circulating information about your event through their own memberships/networks.

You could also try approaching individuals from sympathetic organisations to provide quotes, which you could then use in a news release to send to local press/television/radio.

Antigone

Thanks for the advice. Right now, I'm having the most trouble trying to get anyone interested at all. Most people say "Saudia Arabia? We're in NORTH DAKOTA". So this is great, at least it's somewhere to start.

The Happy Feminist

I'll give it some more thought, Antigone. Again, I have to say I am pretty clueless. I know a bit about what Saudi is like from having read about it and known people who lived there, but I know a lot less about potential solutions.

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