Local communities can safeguard the civil rights and liberties of their residents by enacting local laws that can put your community on the offensive and put a cog in any President’s plans to trample on the Bill of Rights. Defending Rights & Dissent model ordinances contain provisions that:
- Declare that all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin, immigration status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation are welcome in the community.
- Prohibit discriminatory profiling
- Prohibit or limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
- Prohibit undercover infiltration or spying on activist groups or religious institutions.
- Protect social media from the prying eyes of the state.
We encourage you to join forces with others in your community to launch a campaign to pass local legislation. Our templates were written to respond to community concerns after the 2016 election. They are designed to be agile and adaptable in order to meet the different needs of diverse communities nationwide. Tooled to be supported by unconventional coalitions, these bills will empower you to take action to defend your rights and those of your neighbors.
- Model Resolution to Defend Rights and Dissent (PDF) (Word)
- Model Ordinance to Protect Against Discriminatory Profiling and Limit Surveillance, Intelligence Collection, and Immigration Enforcement Activities (PDF) (Word)
- Model Ordinance to Protect First Amendment Rights and Online Privacy (PDF) (Word)
- Explainer: What do the laws and resolution do? (PDF)
- Grassroots organizing toolkit
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Additional model local ordinances focus on surveillance and transparency:
Resolutions allow your town or state to send a message to the federal government
Resolution opposing military detention and supporting the right to trial. In 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law. It includes a provisions that could allow indefinite and arbitrary military detention, without a trial or day in court, of anyone accused of any “belligerent act” or terror-related offense—including “material support” allegations based strictly on speech or association. It essentially subjects everyone within the US (including citizens, legal residents, and visitors) to the same lawless standards at work in Guantánamo Bay.
Resolution for accountability for torture offers an opportunity for municipalities and states to call on the federal government to pursue transparency and accountability through an independent commission and prosecution of all government officials complicit in degrading treatment.
In their first official act, the new Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution criticizing President-Elect Donald Trump’s “divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice.”
130 Leaders to NY City Council: Pass #RightToKnowAct to Protect Women & Gender Non-Conforming NYers from NYPD Harassment & Abuses
Women, trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers rallied at City Hall on Monday to demand swift action from the New York City Council to pass the Right To Know Act. I
On Monday, November 21, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons introduced an ordinance to require transparency and oversight of police surveillance technology.
Last week, the Dissent NewsWire reported on ballot initiatives to watch during the 2016 elections. Election day turned out favorably for marijuana legalization, but other civil liberties did not fair nearly as well. In particular, we saw major losses in regards to the death penalty, the right to assemble, and reforming the prison system.