Silent Witness Peacekeepers Alliance
Silent Witness Peacekeepers Alliance (SWPA) is an organization of gay and straight allies dedicated to providing a non-confrontational buffer between the LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) community and those who would protest LGBT events.
You can access SWPA directly through their website.
Silent Witness Peacekeepers Alliance (SWPA) is an organization of gay and straight allies dedicated to providing a non-confrontational buffer between the LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) community and those who would protest LGBT events. We are peacekeepers, not counter-protesters, protecting everyone's right of free speech. We provide visual protection from "street preachers" and protesters at events such as Pridefests, the showing of films such as Jim in Bold and For the Bible Tells Me So, or staging of plays such as The Laramie Project, using our bodies and rainbow umbrellas as shields. In times of need, we intervene to prevent confrontations between protesters and event participants, often acting as escorts for those who would like to attend such events. Where there are those who publicly promote hate, we will be there to help provide a loving, supportive front opposing them. We provide a visual representation of support for those in our society who may feel marginalized, while simultaneously protecting everyone's rights of free speech and religion.
Silence with a Purpose
It is often a struggle to refrain from arguing with street preachers and other protestors, but based on past experience, confronting them is clearly useless. Their attempts to engage participants in a "dialogue" are thinly disguised attempts to trap unsuspecting subjects into listening to their diatribe. They are impervious to logic. And at their worst, they are trying to earn a living by provoking an attack and filing lawsuits. It is precisely this kind of result that SWPA is determined to prevent.
Promoting Diversity Inside and Out
While individual members of SWPA may hold deep religious beliefs, and are free to express them during events, SWPA supports diversity in all its forms, including religion. For some, it is their belief in the all-abiding love of their God that inspires them to do this work. For others it is their belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people that drives their participation. Whatever the motivation, the result is the same: we will continue to support the rights of those who suffer expressions of hate.
Silent Witnesses receive significant training in non-confrontational, non-violent techniques for dealing with protesters, following principles from Gandhi and M. L. King, Jr. Trainings also includes important tactical information about the event venues, information about some of the specific protesters we are likely to encounter, and how Witnesses are deployed.
Only those who have received this training may participate in an event as a Silent Witness.
For information on training dates, please refer to SWPA's training website.
Code of Conduct
Silent Witnesses will:
undergo significant training in non-confrontational tactics before being allowed to participate in an event.
conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.
not carry weapons of any kind (including mace or pepper spray).
obey the directives of police and /or security personnel at an event in a prompt and courteous manner.
notify police and/or security immediately whenever a confrontation appears imminent.
take necessary steps to avoid any confrontation with or between protesters, counter-protesters, or event participants.
not engage event protesters either verbally or through gestures of any kind.
escort event participants past protesters in a friendly, orderly, and non-confrontational manner.
protect everyone's right to free speech.
wear and/or carry gear that clearly identifies them as Silent Witnesses.
monitor their own mental state and remove themselves from duty immediately if they begin to lose their objectivity.
be removed from duty immediately if any of the above is not strictly adhered to.