My informant was an active participant in the Los Angeles branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement that came to life in Los Angeles in October of 2011. His participation spanned from its first day in Los Angeles, to the beginning of December.
“Durring the GAs [General Assemblies] or at protests, we wouldn’t always have access to a microphone, so the human mic was our way of making it so that a large group could hear what one person had to say.”
To initiate the human mic, the speaker (or anyone who notices someone is trying to be heard) yells out, “mic check”. To let the speaker know that they have been heard, individuals around them yell back in unison, “mic check”. This is repeated two to three times until the speaker has everyone’s attention.
Once the speaker has everyone’s attention, the speaker says a short phrase and then pauses. Everyone within ear shot then repeats that phrase in unison. From there, the speaker continues this process until their speech is finished. This amplifies their voice so that their speech is not limited to those within direct ear shot.