How to Host a Sit-in

March 22, 2022

A step-by-step guide on how to peacefully and successfully protest unjust mandates. 

During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, sit-ins were a form of civil disobedience used to protest against discrimination, segregation and Jim Crow laws. 

These peaceful protests, though they were met with resistance and violence, were incredibly effective and important in the advancement of the civil rights movement. 

That’s because movements grow by taking action. Courage is contagious, and action begets more action. More action begets change. 

In the United States today, unjust vaccine mandates are discriminating and segregating certain groups of people, barring them from patronizing stores and restaurants, entering public and private buildings, and, at worst, receiving medical care. 

We can take a lesson from the civil rights movement and use sit-in protests as a way of peaceful, civil disobedience. 

On December 1, we hosted one of our first sit-ins at a Panera Bread in New York City. Panera Bread was forced to close down the restaurant three hours early to avoid a mass arrest of demonstrators. They lost money and business. 

A sit-in can show pro-mandate establishments at least what their actions are costing them financially, if not what it's costing them morally and in the eyes of history. 

Because of their historical importance and effectiveness, we are encouraging our volunteers to host sit-ins against unjust mandates in their cities and communities. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to host a successful sit-in protest. 

Step 1

Find like-minded friends, family, colleagues or Project Stand Together volunteers to join you in this endeavor. We recommend having at least five people committed to attending

Not sure how to find people? Find and join one of our Telegram groups in your areas to meet local volunteers! 

Sit-ins should be organized through personal text messages, group chats and email chains, or in-person. Do not promote sit-in time or location in the public Telegram groups. 

Step 2

Identify a restaurant in your area that is enforcing these unjust vaccine mandates, meaning that they are requiring a vaccine card to enter and patronize their establishment. 

Ideally, this would be a restaurant that in normal circumstances you would be able to walk in and sit down. This can be a diner, a casual franchise restaurant or fast-food establishment, or a bar. 

Do not share with outsiders where you will be hosting your sit-in. The most successful sit-ins are not anticipated by the establishment. 

Step 3

Choose a time for the sit-in when the establishment will be open for a few hours afterward, ideally at a busy time with lots of traffic, typically between 2 and 7 p.m. any day of the week. 

Step 4

Reach out to local groups fighting for the same thing. This can be Children’s Health Defense, Freedom Keepers, Moms for Liberty, or independent journalists and social media influencers in your area. 

Invite them to join you.

Project StandTogether does not share sit-in information (location, time, etc.) on its newsletter or other platforms. It will only promote, if needed, the fact that there will be a sit-in and to contact the main volunteer organizer.

Step 5

Coordinate with your group to meet at a location near the restaurant 30 minutes before. This could be a park, street corner, bus stop, etc. 

Communicate with your team the following steps and best practices (see below). 

If you feel that the location has been shared with the police, the restaurant or others that can compromise the sit-in, choose a new restaurant to go to. 

Step 6

Walk together to the restaurant and enter together. 

Walk directly past anyone who asks you for a vaccine card. 

Step 7

Take a seat, or wherever you would go to order.

If they refuse to take your order or to serve you, take a seat if you haven’t already, and stay put 

Step 8

Do not leave your seat until you have been served or until the police ask you to leave. 

If you do not leave when the police ask you to, you can expect to be arrested for a few hours and charged with Trespassing. 

Best Practices 

Courage is contagious. Take a stand today by sitting in. 

If we want to see change, we must #StandTogether.