We will never give up our right to protest. That’s why DRAD is fighting back against bills that attack the right to protest and promoting proactive legislation that protects the right to protest. It’s also why we are engaging in groundbreaking journalism to expose those attacks
The right to protest is under assault. State after state is considering laws designed to chill the right to assemble. These bills include such draconian provisions as holding organizers and protesters criminally liable for the bad acts of third parties or removing legal liability for running over protesters. Other states and even the US Congress are considering bills designed to punish people for engaging in nonviolent boycotts for human rights. And prosecutors are bringing disproportionate charges against protesters with increasing regularity and in some cases using outrageous guilt by association theories to criminalize merely being present at a protest where someone else engages in vandalism.
The right to protest is essential for social change. Opponents of Black Lives Matter, anti-pipeline protests, and other social movements know that. That’s why they are pushing for bills designed to intimidate their opponents.
Anti-Protest Legislation Toolkit
Fighting an anti-protest bill in your state? The Protect Dissent Network is compiling a tool kit of opposition letters, op-eds, talking points, sample action alerts, testimony, articles and other resources developed for previous campaigns. Feel free to use and adapt for your advocacy:
- Critical Infrastructure – bills that increase penalties for protests at pipelines and other “critical infrastructure”
- Right to Boycott – bills that restrict the right to engage in political boycotts
- Campus “Free Speech” – bills that purport to protect free speech on campus, but in fact penalize protest rights
- Face Coverings – bills that criminalize covering one’s face during a protest
- Pay to Protest – bills that charge protest organizers for policing, or for damage caused by third parties
- Links – to articles about the trend of anti-protest legislation
Visit the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Anti Protest Law Tracker for up-to-date information about bills introduced/laws passed in your state.
Statement on Kenneth Marcus’s Resignation As Head of Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights
Kenneth Marcus has announced that he is resigning as assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.Given Marcus’s long history of working to silence student speech supportive of Palestinian rights, Defending Rights & Dissent opposed his nomination to the post. While Defending Rights & Dissent supports robust enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws, we oppose the misuse of those laws to silence political speech about Palestinian rights or Israeli policy, as Marcus did.
“If the technology is flawed and the pol
DRAD Joins 40+ Groups to Declare Intimidation Tactics in Louisiana Won’t Silence Environmental Protesters
40+ advocacy groups express outrage over
On Wednesday, a coalition of environment
Defending Rights & Dissent Joins Civil Liberties Group Urging Inspector General Investigation of Kenneth Marcys
Defending Rights & Dissent joined with eight other civil rights and civil liberties groups in urging the Department of Education Inspector General to review the actions of Kenneth Marcus. Marcus currently heads the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a position he previously held in the Bush administration. However, between his stints at the OCR, Marcus was a vociferous proponent of a number of schemes to deny supporters of Palestinian rights their First Amendment rights. This included encouraging the office he now heads to treat criticism of Israeli policies and support of Palestinian rights as violations of federal civil rights law. Complaints alleging just that were repeatedly rejected by the OCR. That is until Marcus came to head the office.