Fwd: Do you support the right to peaceful protest?
- ----- Forwarded message from Christopher Calhoun <publicpolicy@...> ----
Date: 25 Jun 2002 23:47:02 -0000
From: Christopher Calhoun <publicpolicy@...>
Subject: Do you support the right to peaceful protest?
To: Gretchen Begley <gbegley@...>
Cesar Chavez' marches. Pride marches. Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s nonviolent civil rights movement, the suffragists
who fought for women's right to vote. All of them used
a powerful tool for change: direct action through public
But that right has always been threatened and chilled
by stiff penalties and sentences -- even when protesters
engage in no violent or destructive behavior. Now a
movement is building across America to change our laws
so that nonviolent protesters' fines and prison sentences
will be greatly reduced. California is considering
such a law now, limiting jail time to two days and
fines to $100. Support this basic democratic right
by telling your legislators to pass SB 1680.
You can take action on this alert either via email
(please see directions below) or via the web at:
Spread the word. Use the power of your address book.
Don't limit your action to yourself. Visit the web
address below and tell your friends to take action
on this important campaign!
We encourage you to take action by October 14, 2002
Support the Right to Nonviolent Protest
Protest. Marches. Democratic action.
When people care enough to demonstrate in the streets,
it's because they believe in our country's ideals of
democracy and freedom. But too often, those in authority
see political protest, whether it's about the environment,
about the effects of globalization in the world economy,
about police abuses, about LGBT freedom, about women's
rights, or about flaws in our criminal justice system
such as racial profiling, as a threat to be shut down,
or a crime to be punished harshly.
In fact, harsh penalties are frequently applied to
peaceful protesters who haven't harmed a person or
anybody's property, and who haven't blocked a medical
facility or a private home. For such protesters, 6
months in jail and fines of up to $1000 are inappropriate,
and SB 1680 changes that by reducing prison time to
two days and fines to $100.
Help strengthen our right to peaceful protest by supporting
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB:
If you have access to a web browser, you can take action
on this alert by going to the following URL:
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA EMAIL:
Just choose the "reply to sender" option on your email
Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
Governor Gray Davis
Assembly Member Hannah-Beth Jackson
----THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT IN YOUR NAME----
I urge you to support SB 1680, a bill by Senator Polanco
that reduces the stiff penalties and jail sentences
that can currently be handed out for nonviolent, nondestructive,
public protest. SB 1680 recognizes clearly that violent
protest or protest that damages property, blocks access
to medical facilities, or blocks entrances to private
homes is a greater offense, and it does not change
the current penalties for these activities. But individuals
who engage in none of these activities have the right
to engage nonviolently in public protest, and our current
laws impinge on that right.
Our nation has evolved toward greater equality and
liberty through the commitment and engagement of people
who care enough to make their views known publicly
through demonstrations and protest. The civil rights
movement, the farm workers' rights movement, the women's
movement, and the LGBT struggle for equality have all
used the tools of public protest to make our country
and our state a better place for all. The U.S. Constitution
guarantees us the right to free expression and free
assembly, but laws such as California's current laws
that harshly penalize nonviolent protest interfere
with those rights. It's time to stop throwing Californians
in jail for six months simply because they believe
in a cause strongly enough to take to the streets.
From the the time of the Revolutionary War to the present,
encompassing every major civil rights movement in the
last century, Americans have a history of having the
courage of our convictions -- and demonstrating that
courage in public through nonviolent demonstrations.
California should stop standing in the way of nonviolent
----END OF LETTER TO BE SENT----
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Isla Vista, CA 93117
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