Monday, September 3, 2012

Keep calm and march on

Posted By on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Before the Coalition to March on Wall Street South began marching Sunday, its De-Escalation Team convened on the steps at the edge of Frazier Park. What is the De-Escalation Team?

“If you’re not part of the De-Escalation Team, you don’t really need to know,” a team member with a megaphone told me.

Evan Kolosna (mohawk) and other members of the De-Escalation team.
  • George Brady
  • Evan Kolosna (mohawk) and other members of the De-Escalation team.

“Wait!” someone interjected. “Are you part of the media?”

Evan Kolosna, a member of the team, explained that it was a group of 10 people who wear purple arm bands and plastic-encased “De-Escalation” badges and respond to conflicts at Coalition-sponsored events.

“I don’t want to call it 'security.’ We really just make sure everyone is doing OK. Everyone on the team has a really calm personality, so we calm people down.”

Though temperatures were nearly as blistering as protestors’ passion, Kolosna, a student at UNC Asheville and member of that school’s Students for a Democratic Society chapter, said there had been no altercations at Frazier Park that required the De-Escalation Team’s attention. But after rain forced organizers to move the prior day’s Festivaliberacion! concert inside, the squad had been dispensed to quell the anger of attendees who couldn’t fit into the indoor venue.

“People were upset. We just had to calm them down.”

The man with the megaphone reappeared shortly thereafter, nearly shouting in Kolosna’s ear: “Where’s Tommy!?”

Kolosna laid a hand on his shoulder and told him to “Calm down.”

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