Clergy members and civil rights activists are teaming up to hold four protest trainings ahead of the Democratic National Convention.
The Arch Street United Methodist Church will hold "Know Your Rights" sessions Saturday, July 9, Saturday July 16, Wednesday July 20th and Saturday July 23rd.
The convention runs July 25-28.
The trainings will cover methods of non-violent protest and also provide information for protesters on resources available to them in the city.
"We know those coming to the city and those already here, planning to exercise their First Amendment right are going to need some support," said Rev. Robin Hynicka, of Arch Street Methodist. "They're going to need love, they're going to need some place to go. We're sending that message today."
On the Saturday before the convention, the church – on North Broad Street, yards away from City Hall - will stay open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for "DNC Freedom School," an open house for people to gather to prepare to protest. The Freedom School is inspired by the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools and the Summer of Freedom where activists gathered to register African Americans to vote and promote political organizing.
"Voter registration, civic engagement political and social activism were key components of the Summer of Freedom," Hynicka said. "Revisiting the courage commitment and conviction and cause of the Summer of Freedom and the Freedom schools has the potential to shape the current context that we are facing."
Instructors include Rev. Gil Caldwell who participated in the Summer of Freedom's Freedom Schools, the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery March. The church will screen his documentary "From Selma to Stonewall – Are We There Yet?"
At a press conference Wednesday members of POWER, an interfaith coalition of clergy leaders from around the city, called for peaceful protests and a law enforcement plan that safeguards free speech.
"Much of our society and communities in this city and beyond are in a state of emergency," said Gregory Holston, Reverend of New Vision Methodist Church in North Philadelphia. "But the cries are not being heard by our politicians, by our corporations, by our business leaders so it makes sense that a Democratic National Convention where all of those leaders come together – that voices lift up in protest."