Webinar Description:

Libraries and their employees face challenges in handling difficult or threatening situations while providing good service to their communities. Defend Yourself helps libraries address these challenges with a comprehensive training that covers de-escalation, active bystander skills, boundary setting, and empowerment self-defense.

This training is experiential, trauma-informed, and will help:

  • Promote a safe and respectful workplace for all staff,
  • Maintain good, productive relationships with patrons,
  • Create a shared toolbox of skills for dealing with difficult patrons and any harassment among staff,
  • Build relationships in which staff can rely on each other for help in dealing with harassment and other stressful situations, and
  • Address organizational challenges around safety, including communication and building design.

Over the course of the two-part series staff will learn the following skills:

  • Avoidance and prevention
  • Assertiveness, direct communication, and boundary-setting
  • De-escalation
  • Bystander intervention

About the Presenters:

Farah Fosse is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker with a focus on trauma-informed care as well as group and community-based work. Farah brings more than 15 years of experience leading a team of community organizers working with low-income D.C. residents. She also brings clinical experience working with people with serious mental illness as well as co-occurring issues including homelessness and substance abuse. Farah has been an instructor with Defend Yourself for almost 15 years and has led the Safer Libraries trainings since their beginning over four years ago.

Xitlalli Velasquez (she/her/hers)

I am originally from Los Angeles, Tongva Land, and have been living in the DMV-Piscataway Land for the past eight years. I come to Defend Yourself with a background in housing/tenant organizing. I am committed to loving and caring for myself and my communities. I am honored to be able to teach with Defend Yourself and bring community solutions to community problems, and learn from each other about ways to keep us safe. I strongly believe that intervening in harmful situations instead of relying on policing is a path toward abolition and reinvesting in life giving institutions.

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