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New Guides Offer Strategies for De-escalating Destructive Conflict at School Board Meetings

Resources highlight concrete steps for volunteers, elected leaders, and law enforcement working to protect space for civic discourse

Princeton, NJ -- A new collection of resource guides offers elected officials, law enforcement agencies, and members of the public concrete strategies to prepare for potentially contentious public school board meetings and to recognize and de-escalate conflicts. 

ADL and Princeton's Bridging Divides Initiative Release New Report Tracking Threats and Harassment Against Local Officials

New York, NY, October 19, 2022 ... Today, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and Princeton
University’s Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) launched a new data collection initiative that tracks threats
and harassment of local elected officials. This first-of-its-kind project is an ongoing study to
systematically evaluate…

Issue Brief: Understanding Emerging Trends in Protests and Political Violence Around Abortion and Reproductive Rights in the United States

This Issue Brief examines emerging trends since the May 2nd Dobbs v. Jackson draft decision leaked, mainly focusing on offline mobilization. The brief contextualizes this activity within historical violence related to abortion and reproductive rights. It concludes with observations on potential activity moving forward into the 2022 election cycle.

A Discussion with Dr. Charles Chavis: Maryland's "Silent Shore" and the Role of History in Current Truth and Racial Healing Efforts

This event has already taken place. You can find a recording of the event at this link.

Join BDI for a virtual conversation with

New Interactive Map Supporting U.S. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Movement

A new map released by the Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) at Princeton University provides a dynamic visualization of the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) movement, a comprehensive strategy to effect transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Issue Brief: Understanding Emerging Trends in January 6 “Political Prisoners” Demonstrations, January 2021 - January 2022

As the first anniversary of the January 6 attacks approaches, national attention has turned to conflicting commemorations of the day itself. A brief period of bipartisan calls for accountability in 2021 ultimately gave way to revisionism, and in some cases outright conspiracy theories, including from some Republican lawmakers looking to maintain favor with former President Trump.

One of the most concerning narratives includes framing arrested rioters as “political prisoners” by either denying documented actions or claiming cases are politically motivated. Few if any uses of the “political prisoner” narrative have been linked to wider calls to improve treatment for all prisoners or other criminal justice reform, suggesting attention on prison conditions is being used primarily to amplify divisive narratives and fear — rather than as an opening to engage on a topic with potential to promote bipartisan cooperation. Though currently limited in total number, the migration of these narratives from online discussion to offline demonstrations and activity merit specific attention.

After Action Review (AAR): Political Violence Mitigation & the US Election Cycle

The Bridging Divides Initiative convened a small group of key stakeholders for a short AAR, scheduled for January 7, 2021 and rescheduled for February 3, 20201. Discussion is shared here in aggregate with approval of the group, but does not represent a specific consensus. Rather, summaries below represent a snapshot of early reflections and highlights areas where the groups largely agreed/disagreed, in the hope that all can learn and build on details here in the true spirit of an after-action review.

Issue Brief: Unaffiliated Armed and Unidentified Communal Militia, January 2020 - June 2021

This brief examines trends in 416 instances of armed actors and incidents involving guns at protests recorded by ACLED, where the armed actors were not reported to be affiliated with a named paramilitary or militia organization.

The majority of people arrested in connection with the Capitol attack were not affiliated with militia organizations. These groups continue to be a reality in the US protest environment. Moreover, the attack on January 6 was preceded by a year of multiple notable trends in these types of armed actors at protests. For example, over 94% of all recorded armed counter-protests were in opposition to BLM, defund the police, or anti-confederate monument protests.

Report: Election 2020 Political Violence Data and Trends

The post-election to inauguration period—the 11 weeks from Wednesday November 4, 2020 to Wednesday January 20, 2021—is a unique period of the US electoral calendar. Data on political mobilization and violence from this period tell us something both about what we might expect in the post-election period of future elections, and also offer a first glimpse of what we might see in terms of more immediate political violence in post-Trump America. 

Violence Prevention & De-escalation Resources for State & Local Officials

The purpose of this document is to help state and local officials anticipate the risks they face and respond. These resources help local leaders take four actions to mitigate violence (1) analyze risk; (2) understand state-specific laws and options for enforcing them; (3) build stakeholder engagement for high risk events; and (4) communicate insights and guidance.

January 23 - January 29, 2021: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Demonstrations in the United States declined by over 20% last week relative to the week prior. ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies by Trump supporters continued to drop during the first week of the Biden administration.

January 16 - January 22, 2021: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Demonstrations across the United States continued at slightly lower levels last week compared to the week prior as the Office of the President transitioned from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned of potential violence during the transition of power, all demonstrations across state capitals and Washington, DC remained peaceful amid heightened security measures (CNN, 21 January 2021).

January 09 - January 15, 2021: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Following the storming of the United States Capitol building by Trump supporters on 6 January 2021, demonstrations remained at an elevated level last week compared to the average throughout December 2020. Demonstrations have averaged slightly under 300 events per week in January, in comparison to under 200 events per week last month.

December 13 - January 08, 2021: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

While demonstrations in the United States continued on a downward trend through the end of 2020, they began to resurge in the first week of 2021. With President Donald Trump’s continued refusal to accept the election results (The Hill, 6 January 2021), ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies continued across the country, culminating in significant unrest in Washington, DC on 6 January 2021.

BDI echos statements of the National Taskforce on Election Crisis

Following yesterday's events, the Bridging Divides Initiative echos both statements released by the National Task Force on Election Crisis:

 

National Task Force on Election…

Issue Brief: Trends in Demonstrations at Homes, May-December 2020

Key Trends:

● At least 360 demonstrations at homes occurred persistently throughout the past 8 months (May - December 2020), with threatening behavior by various actors recorded at low levels since May.

● The period immediately post-Election Day has seen an increase in both the number of protests outside homes and recorded presence of armed and unlawful paramilitary actors. These actions are particularly if paired with online threats and/or spreads to targeting of local officials.

● For the full period of data, more demonstrations at homes have focused on city- and county-level officials’ private homes, involved repeat visits, and were used as a repeat tactic by specific groups.

December 6 - December 12, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week, demonstrations in the United States increased by over a quarter relative to the week prior. Demonstrations related to the coronavirus pandemic increased by more than 50%.

November 29 - December 5, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week, the overall number of demonstrations in the United States remained static relative to the week prior. Pandemic-related events again accounted for the highest number of demonstrations.

November 22 - November 28, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week in the United States, demonstrations decreased by half compared to the week prior. Demonstrations have declined overall in the weeks since the election.

In Brief: BDI State Analysis Summaries

In order to provide key partners with a snapshot of state and local dynamics ahead of the 2020 election, Princeton Bridging Divides initiative prepared a series of state-specific "In Brief" summaries.

Analysis draws on multiple public data sources, including the US Crisis Monitor, Mapping Police Violence project, ADL HEAT Map, SPLC Hate Map, and a variety of local news sources in order to present a state and county-level description of recent trends and actors of concern.

Warning Signs Remain as Transition of Power Unfolds: Analysis Shows Election Day Overwhelmingly Peaceful

Princeton, NJ -- In analysis covering the week of Election 2020, drawing from multiple and news sources as well as broad observations from monitors, Princeton’s Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) finds a largely peaceful Election Day which suggests American systems and communities are more resilient than reported, despite real and continued stressors on the system. 

November 15 - November 21, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week in the United States, the demonstration rate remained constant compared to the week prior. The largest number of demonstrations were related to the coronavirus pandemic, followed by those in support of President Donald Trump.

November 8 - November 14, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week, the overall number of demonstrations in the United States decreased by more than half compared to the previous week — during the general election — when more than 550 demonstration events were reported.

November 1 - November 7, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

The overall number of demonstrations in the United States increased by 80% last week relative to the week prior. The majority of demonstrations were associated with the 2020 presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, which was held on 3 November.

October 25 - October 31, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week in the United States, demonstration events decreased by 27% relative to the week prior. The highest number of demonstrations were related to the general election set for 3 November.

October 18 - October 24, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week in the United States, fewer demonstration events were reported compared to the week prior. Demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement continued, but slightly decreased in number.

October 11 - October 17, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Demonstration events in the United States increased last week compared to the week prior. The increase is largely attributable to nationwide demonstrations held as part of the Women’s March on 17 October in opposition to the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.

Quick Guide on How to Access and Utilize BDI Data

This guide will help you access or request data on recent events in your community to use as a starting place or one component of:

  • ‘Actor’ or ‘conflict’ analysis within your community, when paired with your own knowledge and local sources
  • Pre-election planning around potential contention: 
    • Together with available guides with available guides from other organizations 
    • Together with your own local community discussions 
  • Connecting to active organizations in your community working on your issues of interest

 

October 04 - October 10, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Fewer demonstration events were reported in the United States last week compared to the week prior. Demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement continued, but decreased by nearly one-third relative to the previous week.

September 27 - October 03, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Demonstrations declined in the United States last week compared to the week prior. Demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement continued, but decreased by more than half relative to the previous week.

September 20 - September 26, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Last week in the United States, the number of demonstration events spiked by nearly 60% relative to the previous week. Following the Kentucky grand jury decision not to indict any Louisville police officers for directly killing Breonna Taylor, demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement increased threefold compared to the week prior.

September 13 - September 19, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Fewer demonstration events were reported in the United States last week compared to the week prior. The highest number of demonstration events were reported over issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, followed by demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

September 6 - September 12, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

Demonstrations in the United States increased overall compared to the week prior. However, demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement decreased nationwide.

August 23 - August 29, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

The overall number of demonstration events decreased last week in the United States compared to the week prior, though the number of demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement increased following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Community Response - Case Study: Dahlonega, Georgia (May 2020)

Earlier in 2020, the Bridging Divides team conducted interviews in Dahlonega, Georgia with the goal of helping community members tell their own stories of resilience. Toward that goal, BDI outlined four broad observations of local community response to two events from 2017-2019 in an initial Case Study focusing on the community response in Dahlonega, Georgia.

August 30 - September 5, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

The overall number of demonstrations decreased compared to the week prior. Demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement decreased nationwide. However, in New York, demonstrations increased following the release of body-camera footage depicting the detention of Daniel Prude, a Black man, by officers of the Rochester Police Department last March, which ultimately resulted in his death.

August 16-22, 2020: US Crisis Monitor Weekly Overview

The number of demonstration events spiked by more than 40% compared to the week prior. These demonstrations were primarily driven by the Trump administration’s handling of the United States Postal Service (USPS) ahead of the election. Demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement also increased following a number of officer-involved shootings in recent weeks.

A Discussion with Eve Ewing: 1919 and Political Violence

Join us for a virtual event with Professor Eve L. Ewing around her work 1919 and the many through lines on to our current moment.  Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will serve as discussant and moderator for the reading, discussion, and dynamic Q&A.

Taking place virtually on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 4:30pm EDT

US Crisis Mapping and Resilience Training

Taking place virtually on Tuesday, August 25 at 1:00pm EDT