A Menu of CLDC Trainings

By: Emma Stahl, CLDC Intern

Since 2003, our slogan has been “assert your rights- we’ve got your back.” It seems like a simple statement, however when we dive deeper into what being an activist means, we realize how nuanced this statement is.

To assert one’s rights, a person needs to know what rights they possess as an individual living in the United States. This knowledge includes what situations those rights extend to, when they apply and how one’s actions, or perceived actions, can limit the extension of these rights. As our country continues to dive deeper into political strife, the surge of new activists hitting the streets is becoming larger. Now, more than ever, it is more important for activists, new and old alike, to educate themselves on their rights, as well as others’. To gain Know Your Rights specific knowledge look into the following trainings:

  • Know Your Rights for Activists trainings provide participants with a knowledge base in what they are allowed to request or deny in differing circumstances, what their rights are if they are detained during a protest, among other themes.
  • Know Your Rights for Youth trainings provide young people with the knowledge of interacting with military recruiters, search of belongings in school, what happens if they are taken to jail, etc.
  • Know Your Rights for the Immigrant Community trainings provide helpful information for individuals and groups about their rights when dealing with law enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), jails, and courts. It would be remiss to not mention that this training has a cadre of bilingual presenters who are able to give this presentation in Spanish.
  • Know Your Rights for the Houseless Community trainings provide specialized training on how to assert your rights while living without a roof over your head.

Once initial intellectual knowledge and experience in the field has been gained, it is important to learn how to protect oneself and the greater activist community. To gain further knowledge in personal and community protection, look into the following trainings:

  • Digital Security for Activists trainings allow activists to better protect private information by illustrating how we are digitally vulnerable.This training provides participants information regarding encryption techniques, password best practices, safer web browsing, the way data is transmitted through Google and Facebook to authorities, and how to ensure that your web use isn’t being used against yourself or others.
  • Legal Observer trainings allow activists to expand their knowledge and be useful to other people’s protests. Legal Observers purposely position themselves close enough to demonstrations to be able to accurately watch and report the activities of law enforcement and how they interact with protesters. Although they do not actively participate in the demonstration, Legal Observers carefully record the actions of the police with the goal of later providing that information to a lawyer as an objective account of events.
  • Learn the Ropes – a 4 hour training that combines the most important subjects from our activist toolkit including: Know Your Rights for Activists, how to cop watch, how to legal observe, and Digital Security for Activists. Consider this your crash course.


While asserting rights, activists must also understand the historical and ongoing threats to the safety and security of the broader activist community. Asserting our rights is imperative and we must be accountable to those who we walk alongside and those we walk to protect. By learning how corporations and the state wish to break down the activist community, we gain the ability to protect it. To learn more information on what’s up against us look into the following trainings:

  • Grand Juries trainings gives activists knowledge of how great of a threat Grand Juries pose to individual activists and our communities. For example, Grand Juries limit and disregard a person’s 1st and 5th amendment rights and this manipulation of an individual during a grand jury can impact the progression of entire grassroots movements.
  • Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP Suits) and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) trainings provides a historical perspective to illustrate the manipulation of law in order to target activists. Both SLAPP and RICO have been used to target and silence activists and are prime examples of the erosion of our civil liberties.
  • Green Scare trainings expand on the aforementioned trainings, while providing further demonstration of how historical manipulation has been carried out. The Green Scare refers to the federal government’s ongoing prosecution of environmental and animal rights activists. By labeling activists as “eco-terrorists,” repressive institutions have been able to imprison demonstrators for long periods of time, even though they were exercising their rights.

If you consider yourself an educated activist, you will have learned that there are forces in our world that are hell bent on stopping you- even if it means violating the rights that kept you safe; that’s where we have your back. The Civil Liberties Defense Center is an organization that supports movements focused on dismantling structures of inequality, as well as the individuals behind those movements. All of our trainings are provided by donation, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. We defend front-line activists and work to keep our constitutional rights intact. So, while the CLDC has activists’ backs, it’s important for the rest of our community to understand how to assert their own rights.  

Request a training here: https://cldc.org/about/contact/