|Planning Time||a few weeks|
|Group Size||as large as possible|
|Event Date||October 23rd|
Homeopathy is gaining popularity as an alternative medicine, despite its lack of scientific backing. Check out this video post, and this one too, from The Friendly Atheist blog for an explanation of homeopathy. Also known as 10:23 day, this campaign began in the UK. The Wikipedia page summarizes how the campaign began. SSA affiliate groups participate in this campaign to raise awareness about pseudoscience. Demonstrations can involve an "overdose", or show how chemicals are diluted, as show in the photo below.
The actual materials for the protest (from posters to pills) don’t take much time to put together, though if you order the pills online you will have to wait for shipping. To make your protest a success, however, enough time must be allotted for publicity. This can take from two weeks to a couple months, depending on your goals. This is the perfect event to coordinate with other science or human rights groups, though coordination takes time. There are also special event permits to obtain usually, which can take anywhere from a couple weeks to the day of depending upon your area.
The more people who participate, the better! There is no such thing as too many participants, especially if the event is to be held outside. Make sure that everyone knows the date/time far enough in advance to plan on showing up. Coordinating with other groups (be they science-based, focused on human rights, or even religious) will take time. Giving other groups at least a month heads-up is suggested, though earlier is better. Establish an email response that directs these groups to helpful materials both about the protest and homeopathy in general. It’s important that they understand what homeopathy is and why it’s pseudoscience, or they may refuse to participate.
It’s also possible to coordinate with skeptic groups from other universities or within the community. Email/call them early and often. If a group joins you, write it into a press release, etc. It’s all about momentum!
Basic protest materials are needed, such as posters. The rest is entirely dependent upon how big you want to make it. Loudspeakers are useful if you have somebody directing the crowd, though each university has their own set of rules as to what is allowed concerning sound systems. Handing out flyers during the protest is recommended so everyone understands your purpose.
Tabling is also an option, especially if there is a petition to sign. If you plan to do an ‘overdose’, then homeopathic pills will be needed. It is best to have members sign up for this beforehand so everyone is informed. Waivers are also an option in case somebody ends up being allergic to one of the ingredients (such as lactose, etc.). All members should be presented with a complete list of the contents of what they will be consuming in case of this. As for selecting which remedy to overdose on, homeopathic sleeping pills seem to be the easiest to debunk during a protest (though the type is up to you). The cheapest source for these is usually eBay, but make sure the pills come in containers with an unbroken seal. You need to be absolutely sure that what you are overdosing on are homeopathic remedies.
We recommend sending out a press release about your event. Look through this in-depth guide to writing press releases. Leading up to the event, promote it through your group email list, social media, and flyers. On the day of the event, try using chalk to direct people to your event.
- Decide what the nature of your event will be. The sticky note method is a great way to decide!
- If your plans involve reserving space on campus or obtaining permits, do this early on!
- Send press releases to your local paper(s) and news organizations declaring your intent on participating in the protest, as well as why homeopathy is pseudoscience.
- Coordinate with other student groups and off-campus groups. Other groups are more likely to join in if you've gotten the initial organizing out of the way.
- Be sure you have enough volunteers to manage the event, and remind them of their commitment.
- Do heavy promotion the week before the event, like passing out flyers.
- Protest! Be loud and be seen. Take photos and videos.
- After the protest, release post-event press releases and post your videos to YouTube! Send photos to email@example.com or submit a Brag It Up, which can earn your group free books or other materials.
One of our best resources to find out what works and what doesn't is you - our student leaders! If you've employed a strategy that worked well, let us know about it so other groups can also use that idea. If you've learned a lesson of caution about something we suggest, point out the pitfalls. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!