We wish you a happy and activism-filled New Year!
We can’t say we’re optimistic for this New Year, but we are determined. As we have for the past decade, we are greeting 2018 with actions to Close Guantanamo on the anniversary of it’s opening: January 11.
More than a decade after they were first captured, 41 men are still held at Guantanamo; they bear the physical and psychological scars of torture and abuse. Five of the men have been approved by the U.S. government for release, and the vast majority of the rest of the population have never been charged with, much less convicted of, a crime. Yet they remain indefinitely detained with no end in sight.
Together we continue to stand united against the injustice, inhumanity, and institutionalized Islamophobia that has made it possible for these men to suffer over a decade of detention without trial, and the continued operation of the prison.
As Gitmo begins its 17th year, please help us call for a just resolution for all those who have been, and who continue to be, detained. Join us in demanding that the prison be closed once and for all.
Rally to Close Gitmo: Rights & Dissent is cosponsoring two protests planned on January 11, in Washington, DC and Los Angeles. If you would like to organize an event, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture has some great resources to help you.
Gitmo is a living symbol of America’s refusal to live up to the promise of our Constitution. Please join us in taking action to close the prison.
Stay Loud, Stay Strong,
Sue and Chip
We’ve changed our Twitter handle to @rightsdissent. Here’s why.
Defending Rights & Dissent is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Erica Garner. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and loved ones. She was 27 years old.
The federal government’s collection, reporting, and protection of accurate, comprehensive data is central to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating civil rights laws and policies. But the Trump administration is taking steps that undermine all of these pillars of data collection.
Amid the onslaught of bad news this year, it’s nice to see a couple of rays of hope.
J20 Coverage: This month saw the conclusion of the trial of of the first six individuals facing felony charges after being indiscriminately mass arrested on Inauguration Day. We devoted significant coverage, including first hand reporting from the court, to this trial.
The six defendants in the first J20 trial have been found not guilty. The charges against the remaining defendants must be dropped and Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff must resign immediately.
Prosecutor Tells Jurors In Trump Inauguration Protest He’s Sick of the Chant “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” And That He Assumes They Are Too
The first of the closing arguments in the trial of Trump Inauguration protesters took place on December 14, 2017. Closing for the government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi put the government’s bizarre legal theories and claims on full display.
“The dismissal of the felony charge is a tremendous victory for the six defendants, their attorneys, and the activists who have mobilized to support them. We, nonetheless, are deeply disturbed by the failure to dismiss the other seven charges, including five counts of property damage, conspiracy to riot, and engaging in ariot. In her ruling, Judge Leibovitz endorsed some of the most disturbing arguments of the prosecution.”
Defending Rights & Dissent was joined by allies Free Press, Demand Progress, DropJ20, and the ACLU of DC in delivering over 50,000 signature to the US Attorney’s Office calling on the Department of Justice to end its prosecution of protesters arrested on Inauguration Day in Washington, DC.
Defending Rights & Dissent Opposes Kenneth Marcus’ Nomination to Department of Education Civil Rights Post
Marcus’ interest in civil rights seems limited to advancing unusual legal theories to silence opinions on Palestine-Israel he disagrees with. As the DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Marcus would endanger the First Amendment and civil rights, his nomination should be rejected.
More than 150 organizations including DRAD, and encompassing a broad swath of civil society representing a diverse group of consumer, media, technology, library, arts, civil liberties, and civil rights advocates, artists, and musicians sent a letter today to Congressional leaders asking them to step in to protect Net Neutrality.
Nation’s Leading Press Freedom and Civil Liberties Groups Call on FCC to Abandon Its Attack on Net Neutrality
DRAD joined more than 30 press freedom, civil liberties and open government groups today to urge Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the scheduled Dec. 14 vote to undermine the open-internet protections put in place in 2015.
Seventy-six years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt designated December 15 to be “a day of mobilization for freedom and for human rights, a day of remembrance of the democratic and peaceful action by which these rights were gained, a day of reassessment of their present meaning and their living worth.”
Together we fought mass surveillance, the Muslim bans, anti-protests bills, censorship, and attempts to roll back what progress has been made on criminal justice reform. And we fought Trump’s unqualified, reactionary, and often racist nominees. We defended whistleblowers, dissidents and press freedom.
The American Friends Service Committee and the Social Justice Initiative at University of Illinois Chicago hosted a “Resisting Surveillance” panel investigating surveillance programs in Chicago, and how communities are resisting these racist, invasive and dangerous practices.
Stop Urban Shield activists in Berkeley have been busy. They took aim at Urban Shield (a highly militarized police war games and weapons expo) in two different venues this week. On Wednesday night, the Berkeley Police Review Commission (PRC) voted 4 to 2 to cease the city’s participation in Urban Shield, and activists who had been brutalized by Berkeley Police while demonstrating against the program filed suit against the city.