Upstanders, Supporting People Targeted by Bigotry

Do you want to support people targeted by bigotry, but aren’t sure how? Active Bystanders, also known as Upstanders are needed now more than ever.

On Saturday January 19th, 2019, as part of the Women’s March Operation Activation, Evanston 4ALL’s Solidarity Response Team offered Upstander Training at the Unitarian Church of Evanston

With any of these Upstander interventions discussed below, first make sure you and the person being harassed are physically safe, the situation won’t escalate, and the person being harassed wants help.

Moderator Rina Campbell of Grace Lutheran Church welcomes Upstander trainees to Unitarian Church Evanston.


Moderator Gail Schechter of Evanston4ALL introduces “THE FIVE D’S” of Upstander Intervention
in harassment situations.


DIRECT Intervention:

  • Respond by naming the harassment (“Stop bothering her!”)
  • Tell the harasser to stop or you’ll contact authorities
  • Take a picture and let the harasser know you’re recording
  • Ask the target of the harassment if they’re okay.


Moderators act out a “Direct” intervention. While Upstander Daniel Ruen (left) is minding his business,
aggressor Gail Schechter (center) starts harassing target Rina Campbell (right).


Upstander Daniel Ruen (left) directly confronts aggressor Gail Schechter (center)
for harassing Rina Campbell (right).


DISTRACT Intervention:

  • Pretend to be lost. Ask for the time. Talk to the person being harassed about something random and take attention off of the harasser.
  • Get in the way. Continue what you are doing, but get between the harasser and the target.
  • Accidentally-on-purpose spill your coffee or make a commotion.


Trainees act out a “Distract” intervention. Upstander Sandy McNabb (left) notices
aggressor Peggy Cloonan (center) taunting target Becky Crawford.


Upstander Sandy McNabb (left) distracts the aggressor by putting herself between Peggy Cloonan (center)
and target Becky Crawford.


DELEGATE Intervention:

  • Find the store supervisor or a transit authority worker and ask them to intervene.
  • Call 311 or 911 (if it is safe) to request help.
  • Get your friend on board and have them distract while you check in with the person being harassed.
  • Give another bystander a specific assignment.


Trainees act out a “Delegate” intervention. Upstanders Dilnaz Waraich (right) finds someone in authority like
Maria Tolpin (left), who could be a store manager, and asks her to intervene.


DELAY Intervention:

  • Ask the target of the harassment if they’re okay and tell them you’re sorry that happened to them.
  • Ask them if there is any way you can support them.
  • Offer to accompany them to their destination or sit with them for a while.
  • Share resources with them and offer to help them make a report if they want to.


Moderators act out a “Delay” intervention. Aggressor Daniel Ruen (left) harasses
target Gail Schechter (right) on the EL train.


While Aggressor Daniel Ruen (left) rants in the background, Upstander Rina Campbell (center) sits down
next to target Gail Schechter (right), and offers support and to accompanying her to her destination.


DOCUMENT Intervention:

  • First, assess the situation. Is anyone helping the person being harassed? If not, use one of the other four D’s.
  • If someone else is already helping out, assess your own safety, and if you are safe, go ahead and start recording.
  • A few tips: Make sure to keep a safe distance, film landmarks (street signs, subway signs), clearly state the date and time that you are filming, always ask the person who was harassed what they want to do with the recording. NEVER post it online or use it without their permission.


Trainees act out a “Document” intervention. While Aggressor Dilnaz Waraich (left) harasses targets
Alison Harper (right) and others, an Upstander like Nina Kavin (rear)
can document the situation with a cell phone.


After the role playing exercises, Trainees like Sandy McNabb (right) were given the chance
to share their reactions to the experience.


Trainee Sandy McNabb signs the Evanston Upstander Pledge board at the conclusion of training.

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