Dissent is Patriotic

STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE MOVEMENT – What ACLU-Oregon, IRCO & NWGSDPDX can tell us

Have you felt a chronic sense of anxiety over the last 100 days? Has the last 100 days felt like 300? Does a feeling of dread come over you every time you see another “Breaking News” alert? Well, we might have just the thing for you.

 

AM:PM PR Speakeasy Panel Discussion with ACLU and Nasty Women

 

Come join us at am:pm PR this Thursday, April 20th at 4:00 pm to hear from some of the heroes fighting for us on the front lines of the movement. Come to listen, come to learn, come to support, come to help, or come for the feeling of solidarity.

Our Inspiration

A recent New York Times (NYT) article referred to this as the “political age of anxiety” in response to a poll taken by the American Psychological Association where nearly 60 percent of Americans said the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress and the level of stress is rising.

Dr. Stephen C. Hayes, a psychology professor interviewed by the NYT, advised Americans, “Use your anxiety to motivate you. Think about what you value most and take action.”

Hayes goes on to say that taking action gives you a sense you have some control over your environment. That perceived self-efficacy can relieve stress and help you feel empowered. Whether signing a petition, participating in a march, making a donation, joining a group, hosting an event or just taking the time to be a better person – action at any level can provide a sense of purpose and hope.

So, you could say this is a selfish effort. I admit, I wanted to be in a room of like-minded and inspiring people. I also wanted to meet my new heroes – the Nasty Women who created the “In Our America” you see multiplying everywhere, members of the ACLU who are fighting harder than ever to preserve and protect our civil liberties and those at the Immigration and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) who are working with those that feel most threatened right now.

Thankfully, representatives from each of these organizations have agreed to join us a for a panel discussion on just what the hell is happening right now, what they are doing about it and what you can do to help, if so inclined.

I hope you can join us for this group therapy session, but whether you are able to or not, here’s a list of videos, articles and sites that might give you the same feeling of hope and inspiration they give me:

 

 

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

 

Melissa McCarthy as Spicer

 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

 

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

 

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

 

 

Listen Learn Lead with Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX

 

Anti-Trump Resistance School Starts at Harvard - CBS News

 

Recover Resist Reform - Anti-Trump - American Prospect

“I can’t overstate how unprecedented the grassroots energy of this resistance is,” said Anna Galland, MoveOn’s executive director.

 

American Prospect - No Factions in Foxholes in Anti-Trump Movement

 

Indivisible Group Guide

 

 

Portland Mercury Resistance & Solidarity Calendar

 

Resistance Calendar

 

 

 

boiler room volunteers, patrons and staff

AM:PM PR’s Mike Phillips speaks at Boiler Room fundraiser

This past weekend I was a featured guest speaker at a fundraiser for the Boiler Room – a youth-oriented community coffeehouse in Port Townsend, Washington.

manresa castle port townsend

The event was held at the supposedly haunted Manresa Castle and raised more than $35,000 for the nonprofit.

As a 23-year-old college graduate I spent many days and nights at the Boiler Room working as a programs intern. I coordinated local musicians and traveling national and international acts for performances. That experience was one of my first forays into a career in public relations and I later leveraged it on my resume when applying for my first public relations job.

But something also worth highlighting is the way the Boiler Room encapsulates the idea of community. The Boiler Room was a safe place for me to spend my time as a teenager, and the only place open late into the evening for teens in that small town. At the Boiler Room I was exposed to new ideas, interesting thought leaders and life lessons that I may not have experienced otherwise.

Diverse local “alternative” cultures would congregate in the Boiler Room. Kids would be off in the corner writing journal entries to sort out their emotions, or logging the collective history of the venue. A young couple might be holding hands in the corner, an earthy woodsman might stride through the door trailed by the musk of a hard days labor. A wide-eyed hippie with homemade clothes and bare feet might frolic in to the sound of bells with a creative project tucked under one arm. And occasionally a yuppie couple on vacation from a neighboring city might wander in and be treated no different.

It’s funny to think about, but I’m the yuppie now.

I remember one Boiler Room regular in particular whose polished musical talents seemed to be on another level. When she played a prominent role on the soundtrack for the film Juno just a few years later, I was both blown away and not too surprised at the same time.

The Boiler Room was important to me because it provided an outlet to test and develop my own musical chops, something I was very passionate about at the time. First during open mic nights, and later during featured performances.

young mike p

The author at 23-years-old. Photo credit: Catska Ench

I recall one teachable moment when I was performing a new song of unrequited love with incredible misogynistic undertones. As I belted out my unfortunate lyrics, the great Phyl Sheridan (RIP) grabbed a plastic bowling pin and hurled it at the stage. After my performance he approached me and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and told me that I cannot talk like that about women, and gave a very convincing argument as to why. That moment was instrumental in the process of reshaping my worldview, retiring several songs, and was the type of experience that young men have in an environment where generations interact freely with older adult role models.

Congrats to the Boiler Room for all of its success. I’m excited for the continual value this organization will provide to the community in Port Townsend – helping kids to learn valuable life lessons and life skills; offering a safe, judgment-free space; enabling a venue where people may interact with their community; and even offering a foothold to future careers. Thank you to all of the adults who continue to act as mentors and role models for the next generation of Boiler Room kids.

If you’d like to donate, please click here.

Oregon Militia Dicks

Oregon Militia PR Tactics and Blunders – AM:PM PR’s Mike Phillips in The Guardian


If you want to be quoted, say something colorful.

(Reposted from The Guardian – January 13, 2016)

 

The Oregon militia’s bizarre PR tactics – from dildos to Facebook videos

Militiamen have attracted media coverage while occupying the Malheur wildlife refuge, but their disjointed social media messages have ‘created a big mess’

by Sam Levin

oregon militia guardian

The armed militiamen occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have increasingly turned to a different weapon in their fight: social media.

Militia leader Ammon Bundy and his rightwing followers, who have been stationed at the headquarters of the Malheur national wildlife refuge since 2 January, have used Facebook, YouTube and live-stream videos to get their message out directly to the public and to call on anti-government activists to support their cause.

In the process, they’ve attracted significant media coverage from across the globe while also holding daily press briefings at the entrance to the refuge that draw huge crowds of hungry reporters each morning.

But their public relations strategy has repeatedly suffered from bizarre self-aggrandizing videos that rogue militiamen continue to post to their followers. The steady feed of rambling selfie videos have prompted widespread mockery and scorn and in some cases have clearly further distracted from the plight of Harney County ranchers whom the militia claim to be backing.

Most recently, militiaman Jon Ritzheimer, the prominent anti-Islam activist from Arizona, posted a Facebook video of himself opening hate mail sent to the refuge, including a box filled with dildos. “It’s really ridiculous. This one was really funny – a bag of dicks,” he said in the video before angrily shoving a bunch of packages off the table. “They just spend all their money on hate, hate, hate, hate!” he shouted.

The episode made the rounds on social media this week and became the subject of many gifs.

And on Tuesday, Oregon Public Broadcasting uncovered a video from an occupier named David Fry from Ohio, who filmed himself using government computers at the compound to create an “Oregon standoff” website.

The videos are the latest in a series of social media messages from numerous members of the Bundy bunch – footage that often captures long-winded and sometimes incoherent speeches that, at the very least, draw further support within rightwing online communities. They may have learned some lessons about how to garner consistent national news coverage from the standoff with the federal government in 2014, which was led by Ammon’s father, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher.

But marketing and communications experts in Oregon who have closely followed the standoff, which has caused a major backlash in the nearby town of Burns, said the militia’s PR tactics were disjointed and chaotic and were only breeding further resentment from the people they purport to be helping.

“If they are trying to get America to pay attention to the grievances they have with federal laws, they are losing that battle,” said Mike Phillips, a public relations specialist with Portland firm AM:PM. “They do not have an effective spokesperson. Having so many people involved and so many people creating their own messaging on their own platforms … they’ve just created a big mess.”

Phillips pointed to Ritzheimer’s video as a clear example of how the militiamen were doing a poor job of drawing attention to complaints about the overreach of the federal government.

“He should not be a spokesperson,” Phillips said. “He’s created a huge distraction … and opened up an avenue for the media to pay attention to that. He’s also opened the door to receive more bags of dicks. It’s just kind of a cluster of craziness.”

At the very least, the use of social media has ramped up support within various conservative militia organizations and so-called “patriot” groups, which may be why more activists continue to flock to the occupation from across the country.

“There’s a significant amount of people in this movement using technologies to communicate with one another. It’s effective for that very small proportion of people,” Phillips said. “It’s probably a good technique to reach out to their core audience.”

The militia’s latest PR move was to announce a meeting in town on Friday, which will be the first time the militiamen leave the compound and formally meet with Burns residents. Given the huge pushback against the occupation from Harney County officials, the meeting is likely to further escalate tensions and draw more media attention to the questionable tactics of the militia.

“If they were going to do this over again, they probably would’ve been better served by building more of a coalition on the ground,” said Ward Hubbell, another public relations specialist based in Portland. “They didn’t really get permission from any stakeholders there to represent their interests.”

 

Marcus Harvey wearing Portland hat on bridge

Brilliance, luck, or both? Meet Portland clothing designer, entrepreneur and … genius?

 

May 6th Speakeasy to Feature Marcus Harvey

AM:PM PR Speakeasy graphic featuring Marcus Harvey

Marcus Harvey surely hit a stroke of social media marketing genius when he snagged the @Portland handle on Instagram from its original owner, a man on the East Coast who used it to share the occasional photo of his daughter.

Recognizing Instagram’s increasing popularity among the millennial generation, Marcus then began systematically populating the account with popular imagery of Portland. He grew its following to 60,000 people before using it to launch his own Portland-themed clothing brand, Portland Gear. He generated $5,000 in sales from the account on its first day.

Please join us Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m. for our next Speakeasy featuring local Portland entrepreneur and clothing designer, Marcus Harvey.

Marcus will share tales from his experience developing a social media-based community centered around Portland, plus how he recognized the opportunity with Instagram and how he’s continued to use the account to successfully promote Portland Gear.

Portland gear models against a spray painted wall

Marcus’s other project is Creative|35, a Portland apparel business offering private labeling for clothing brands and related creative services including design, production and marketing. Marcus graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with a degree in Digital Arts and Business, and is a 2008 graduate of Century High School in Hillsboro. Marcus’s story was featured by The Oregonian earlier this month.

Peter Morrissey - friend and mentor

Missing a mentor today – Peter Morrissey remembered

A good friend and mentor died August 3. His passing reminds me again of how we’re formed by the people we admire.

I first met Peter Morrissey when our firm joined an international network of independent public relations agencies, Pinnacle Worldwide. Peter owned a firm in Boston that specialized in corporate reputation management and crisis communications.

It was easy to see why corporate executives trusted Peter. He was honest, whip smart and direct. He also was a teacher. He shared stories to illustrate lessons. And like a good Irishman, he had great stories to tell.

Among Peter’s corporate clients was Johnson & Johnson. He counseled the company and its McNeil Pharmaceuticals subsidiary when poison introduced into its Tylenol capsules killed seven Chicago-area residents in 1982. It’s now a classic case study in PR classes on crisis communications.

In addition to running his successful firm, Peter was the consummate good citizen. He taught at Boston University, was active in numerous community groups and served on the board of Boston Athletic Association, sponsors of the Boston Marathon.

I remember him most for what I learned listening to him. I suppose that’s why I enjoyed reading Rate Your Professor comments from students he taught at Boston University.

“Morrissey’s real-world experience as CEO of a highly successful PR firm makes his class probably the most useful I’ve taken at BU.“

“Professor Morrissey’s class was a great class. He brings his real-world experience of owning his own PR firm and working with big name clients to the class. Morrissey’s work in crisis communication especially is a case study for every intro to PR class everywhere.”

“I LOVE PROFESSOR MORRISSEY! If you want to go into PR, take as many of Morrissey’s classes as you can. Work hard, talk to him outside of class, and he will help you in your job search way more than Career Services ever could.”

Peter was the same way with his professional colleagues. He would help you any way he could. Mostly he helped me remember that, at its core, our profession is about serving our communities with integrity, honest communications and a commitment to do what’s right.

Peter taught that by how he lived.