Knack Team Update - Black Lives Matter

Last month, the Knack team made a commitment to be more effective allies with the #BlackLivesMatter movement through relevant education and training. One of the initiatives we undertook was training to become better bystanders in the event we saw anti-black racism in our daily lives. 

After researching a lot of training options, the team decided on the “Bystander Intervention to Stop Police Sponsored Violence and Anti-Black Racist Harassment Training” offered by Hollaback!

Below, we’ve shared information on the training, as well as insights from the Knack Team. 

About The Training

From Hollaback!: “We’ll start by talking about the types of violence and racism black folks are facing right now — from microaggressions to murder — using a tool we call the “spectrum of racism.”  We’ll talk about how anti-black racism is so ingrained into the fabric of our society that we see it present in all forms, from everyday tasks or activities to larger societal institutions. We’ll discuss the deep impact harassment, violence, and constant threat of violence has on black communities. 

You’ll learn what to look for and the positive impact that bystander intervention has on individuals and communities. We’ll talk through five strategies for intervention: distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct; and how to prioritize your own safety while intervening. We’ll also talk about what to do if you’re a person of color worried the violence will turn on you and how to avoid being a “white savior.”  We’ll have time at the end for practice, and you’ll leave feeling more confident intervening the next time you see police sponsored, anti-black harassment or violence.”

What We've Learned

After the training, every Knack team member shared some insights from the session:.

Chad Mellen, CEO

The Hollaback training was really educational for me.  I was particularly impacted by the finger privilege exercise we did. Two things really stuck with me from the exercise. First, Coniqua’s statement that privilege is not earned opened my eyes about the luck of my personal situation.  Second, at the end of the exercise, I hadn’t put down one finger. It really brought in to focus the amount of privilege I have. A paraphrasing of the famous old quote kept popping in my head, “With great privilege comes great responsibility”. Later that evening, I spent a lot of time with six friends discussing what I learned during the training and I was really pleased that several asked for information on the training session.

Rachel Mellen, Director of Customer Support

I found the “Distract” step to be helpful.  I could see how asking the person being “attacked” a question shows, whoever’s there, that person is not alone. There is somebody else now involved, peacefully,  in the situation which the antagonist(s) may not have counted on being involved. Number two, in the past, my first thought in any confrontation would always be to call the police, and now I realize you have to take a second look and see if that really is the appropriate response.  And Number 3, is to simply take a second look. Any situation I may have walked by before and felt the police were handling appropriately, I now realize I need to stop, assess, and then decide what my next action is.  

Brianne Huntsman, Partnerships Manager

I really appreciate how Hollaback! was clear on how different methods of intervention could backfire if there's police presence.  In addition to that, I have a tendency of just "jumping in," and I learned how important it is to first ASSESS the situation, then choose from the "5 D's."  

I learned a lot from this training, and I definitely recommend it!

Zeke Camusio, Director of Marketing

I found the bystander effect fascinating from a behavioral psychology perspective. The more people witness a hate crime, the less likely it is anyone will take action. This is so counterintuitive. We’re sociaI beings, and if other people’s response is to freeze, we’re likely to do the same. To counteract this effect, we need to have a clear set of guidelines we can easily follow. But more importantly, we need to go beyond remembering the steps. We need to visualize ourselves going through the motions, and play that mental movie a few times to overwrite the default freezing response.

That takes work. It’s inconvenient. But it’s necessary. We never know when we’re going to find ourselves in a situation where we can save someone’s life. If it happens and we’re not trained for it, we’ll regret not having taken the time to learn how to avoid an unnecessary death.


Melody Taylor, Marketing Manager

During the anonymous polls in our training, I was encouraged by answers and the willingness of participants to intervene in harassment or violence. Out of the 5Ds, I consider myself to be good at making sure all involved are cared for. I’m grateful for the opportunity to hear and learn from someone in the black community on racial injustice and look forward to putting my learnings into practice. 

Keith Bristol, Chief Digital Officer

I found the Bystander Intervention hosted by Holdback! to be helpful. It gave me some handy tools if I ever witness anti-black racist harassment. I was aware of a lot of tactics to use but I did learn a few new one which could come in handy someday. They train you on the 5D’s: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay or Direct and discuss how you can use each one to intervene if you witness racist harassment. 

I have no problem confronting a problem if I see something happening. That said,  the one tactic that was new to me was the ability to distract. Depending on the situation, distraction is a good way to defuse a situation if you’re not comfortable being direct. A great example they used was to walk up and ask for directions, this could hopefully cause a distraction and allow moods to cool down. 

I was fortunate to have my 12-year-old daughter go through training with me and she learned a lot as well. She said her strength would be documentation since her generation films everything. :-) 

Ready to Take The Training?

Click here to learn more about the training and register for the next session.