What are the goals of your event?
Over the years, we've noticed that our most powerful events are designed with these six goals in mind:
- Convene Local Leaders: Bring together unlikely allies in your community who have the power to prevent violence and foster peaceful, positive change. Consider public officials, clergy, social justice advocates, students, artists, and business leaders.
- Shift from Fear to Courage: Involve performing artists and speakers who can open hearts and minds.
- Learn and Dialogue: Ensure participants leave having learned something new about the past and how they can take meaningful action in the present.
- Build a Sustainable Coalition: Establish a sense of kinship with fellow participants that transcends race, religion, and politics. Consider a name-reading ceremony or other solidarity activity.
- Commit to Act: Enable participants to practice taking action at the event, but also share opportunities for long-term engagement.
- Go Public: Share your experience with others via local media and social media to invite the broader community to demonstrate what your town can be at its best.
What type of event will you design?
There are two general types of TWR events that you can design:
A 1 to 24-hour name-reading in a popular public space in your community. This type of event doesn’t include planning additional activities other than the name-reading itself. If this is your first time coordinating a TWR event and if you have a small team with limited resources, then we recommend this simple, yet meaningful approach.
A name-reading with additional activities before, during, or after the name-reading. Here are some examples of activities you could incorporate:
- Interfaith Prayer: Begin or conclude your name-reading by inviting students, faculty, and religious leaders to come together for an interfaith prayer for the millions that we have lost and continue to lose to genocide and mass atrocities
- Survivor Testimony: Invite survivors of genocide and mass atrocities to share their stories, participate in the name-reading, and connect with members of your community
- Art Exhibition: Arrange for an art exhibition consistent with the themes of TWR
- Musical/Theatrical Performance: Invite musical guests and/or actors to perform pieces consistent with the themes of TWR
- Experts Panel: Invite several distinguished speakers to share their thoughts and take questions on a particular theme related to genocide and mass atrocities
- Community Dialogue: As TWR can be an emotional experience, we recommend creating space for your community to reflect on and share their thoughts and feelings from the event, as well as to support one another
Whether you plan something simple or more complex, the beauty of TWR is that it will look, sound, and feel a bit different in each community. As long as you honor our principle of inclusiveness - the idea that we are commemorating different genocides and mass atrocities - you have a lot of flexibility to experiment and try new things. We can’t wait to see what you dream up!
Where will your event take place?
Choose a central, popular gathering space in your community that is easily accessible and has a power source. Communities have hosted events indoors and outdoors before, though we recommend outdoors events where possible. Just ensure that you have a rain plan (e.g. a tent).
Be sure to look into any noise ordinances - rules against loud noise at particular hours of the day - in the place you select. We have been granted exceptions to noise ordinances before, so don’t be afraid to push for one. There are ways to work around or bend this rule!
When will your event take place?
All TWR events will take place during the month of April so we can amplify our voices as one on social media. Choose any day of the month.
If your community absolutely cannot have an event in April, be sure to let us know, so we can plan accordingly.
How will you design the venue?
Now it’s time to use your eye for design to imagine what the stage and setup of your event will look like so that it’s welcoming and engaging to your participants and others passing by. Whether your event is indoors or outdoors, here are some things to consider for your layout:
- Stage/Raised Platform: Having a slightly raised platform that participants need to “step up” to is both symbolic and practical. Be sure that it is wheelchair accessible.
- Loudspeakers: If you can, strategically place 2-4 loudspeakers in your venue so that the name-reading and any other speakers/performers can be heard loud and clear. If outdoors, plan to turn up the volume so the sound carries quite a distance.
- Lectern with Microphone(s): Participants will read names from a tablet or laptop that you place on the lectern - be sure to think about electronic charging needs!
- Table(s) for Event Staff: Designate a space near the stage where event staff can display educational and advocacy materials and giveaways, welcome name-reading participants, and answer questions of any passersby. This is also a good place for event staff to leave their things.
- Chairs: Have some seating available for event staff at the table(s) and community members who may want to listen in for a while, especially if there will be speakers/performers. They are helpful to have for anyone with mobility concerns as well.
- Signage: Consider where you could place several big, visible signs that make clear the event name (#TogetherWeRemember) and what it’s all about. You could place signs in front of the lectern and table(s).
- Lighting: Ensure that your venue has good lighting, especially if your event will take place outdoors and into nighttime.
- Webcam: Think through where you will place your webcam to livestream the event - don’t forget to consider where you can plug this in!
- Social Media Installation: Dream up how to engage with the TWR digital memorial. The digital memorial on our website will be made up of all the live streams and social media posts with our hashtag from participating communities all over the world - and we want your voices featured!
- Decorations: Some communities decide to spruce up their venue with decorations, such as flowers or candles. Real flowers/candles can be beautiful, but hard to manage, so fake ones may be the way to go.
- Food/Drinks: Consider adding an inviting touch to your event by offering free food/drinks (e.g. hot tea/cocoa for name-readers who have a late night/early morning shift!)
When your team designs its event, encourage everyone to imagine themselves in the shoes of someone who signed up to read names and a random person walking by the event. What would enable each of these people to have the most meaningful TWR experience? How might they learn about the issues, connect with people from different backgrounds, and take action for genocide and atrocity prevention?
Will you provide any handouts or giveaways?
Handouts and giveaways are helpful to share information and raise awareness about our movement, even after the event is over. Here are examples of the types of things we have given away before:
- Quarter-sheet flyers: share what TWR is all about and calls to action. We will provide some templates that you can use or customize.
- Ribbons: enable participants and passersby to show their solidarity throughout the day with wearable ribbons. You can use different color ribbons to represent particular genocides and atrocities or you can go with one unifying color.
- Swag: t-shirts and laptop stickers are popular giveaways that attract people to participate and help raise awareness during and after the event.
The types of handouts you provide will depend on the funding you have available. Speaking of funding, now that you have designed your event, it’s time to…