Protect the right to peaceful protest|
2002-09-09, 4:12 p.m.
Your constitutional right to peaceful protest may be in jeopardy.
For more than two centuries, Americans have used peaceful protest and non-violent civil disobedience to call attention to injustices and needed reforms.
But those pursuing these vital and familiar avenues for dissent are encountering increasingly-severe punishments, eroding the means, will, and right of citizens to voice opposition to official policies and actions.
And as our nation responds to the new reality of wars abroad and on the homefront, the need to protect avenues of peaceful protest becomes more urgent than ever.
Just Dissent is a campaign to support current legislation in California -- and to encourage similar legislation in other states -- to protect the American tradition of non-violent dissent by limiting the parameters of prosecution.
In February, 2002, California Senate Majority Leader Richard Polanco, at the suggestion of a growing group of constituents, introduced legislation to protect this most basic of American traditions for Californians. This bill (SB 1796) will limit penalties for acts of peaceful civil disobedience to a maximum $100 fine and/or 2 days in jail, and provide background against which lawyers could further defend participants in peaceful protests. Following an overwhleming 26-8 vote in the State Senate, the State Assembly on August 26 passed SB 1796 (the Political Expression Protection Act) and it heads now to the Governor for his signature.
Now is the time to join the fight! Contact Governor Davis right away, and let his office know you support SB 1796.
For more information, visit Just Dissent.
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.