How to plan a flash mob against discrimination

By Camille Roch

There are many ways people take action for human rights, and flash mobs are a powerful way to raise awareness about discrimination and prejudices. Check out our educator’s step-by-step guide.

On April 16, 140 young people joined Amnesty International Hungary’s biggest flash mob in Budapest to denounce hate crimes and discrimination.

This came as the final event of a 14-month educational project organized with 14 after-school activity groups across the country. Educators and young people aged 10 to 18 took part in sensitization activities to learn how to fight against discrimination, prejudices and hate crimes towards minorities.

For organizers the challenge was to help young people put into practice the skills and knowledge they had gained through an event they could stand up for. We talked to one of them to share their advice on how to plan a powerful performance.

Step 1: Decide on your message

Increase your knowledge and share it with others so everyone knows why you’re doing it, and who the performance is for:

“Our message was ’We would like to live in a world without hate’. Students knew about it and we had discussions on that theme during previous activities. For most of the young people, who are from the Roma community, discrimination is part of their every day lives: too often they’re told they’re not good enough, or don’t have the right colour. They know discrimination, but also sometimes discriminate against others, so we wanted everyone to participate to understand what prejudices are. That’s the most important part, doing something against hate and understanding why you’re doing it. A flash mob needs a strong message but most important, you need to believe in your message,” says Juda Penzes, Human Rights Education Coordinator at Amnesty International Hungary.

Step 2: Create a name, a slogan or a symbol

Give a name or a slogan to your flash mob to get your message across. You can also use a symbol that all participants can hold up or act out at the same time to reinforce the visual impact of the performance. 

“During the performance, all participants symbolically joined their palms and fingers. This sign is initially part of one of our educational activities on the children’s book The Enemy that we use to encourage students to reflect on themes such as difference, or think about who you call your enemy. We decided to integrate it into the performance to show how we can stand up against discrimination,” says Juda.

Your flash mob needs a strong message, but most important, you need to believe in your message
Pénzes Júda, Human Rights Education Coordinator at Amnesty International Hungary

Step 3: Sort out the logistics

Fix a time and date for your event and chose a high-traffic public space. Agree on the type of performance, from a flash mob dance to a theatrical or musical performance. Once you’ve determined your location, check out the area before you hold your flash mob to make sure there are no safety, permission or security issues. 

“We decided to have our performance on the square near Keleti’s station where many refugees were stranded last year after train traffic was shut down. With that we sent a strong message to show that Hungarians care, Roma care, and that together we can act against hate,” says Juda.


Step 4: Practice makes perfect

Get every chance you can to meet in small groups and rehearse the moves together. 

“We involved students, volunteers, and trainers groups and started rehearsing two weeks before with the help of a choreographer. Then we practiced every day, in the park, in the parking lot and in school. During these two weeks we really felt we could change things,” says Juda.

Step 5: Record and share

Make sure you record your flash mob to share it online with an even larger number of people and inspire others.