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Thursday, 07 February 2008 17:00

"Stop Free Speech ""ZONES"""

Written by 

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Dear fellow believers in democracy,

I am urging that you join me in opposing the federal governmentÕs attempt to restrict First Amendment activities at the Washington Mall where so many historic protests have taken place. Currently, Park Services has plans to create what will essentially be a Free Speech zone like the one we had here at FAU in order to preserve the grass at the Washington Mall.

The Washington Post wrote the following piece on the subject, ÒThe Battle to Remold the Mall: Preservation Proposals Spark Debate Over Protest RightsÓ (Jan. 20 2008)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/19/AR2008011901200.html

I believe there is no greater cause before us than preserving the few public places whereby people in this nation can freely express themselves. No where but the National Mall can citizens so directly communicate their approval or disapproval of government policies. It is imperative that we defend this endangered but salient feature of American democracy.

This year I have attended several national protests (against the war) as a participant, observer, and journalist. I also attended the March for WomenÕs Lives where more than 1 million women gathered. Being present at such events makes clear the value and necessity of maintaining the current freedom to gather on the Washington Mall. I have literally heard people say it was the single most transformative experience of their life. In short, the value of such a space for the expression or, according to Arendt, the manifestation of freedom can not be overlooked.

Please sign the following petition: Statement in Defense of Free Speech Rights on the National Mall at http://www.justiceonline.org/site/PageServer?pagename=National_Mall

Sincerely,
Jeff Nall
www.JeffNall.com

This statement reads:
Statement in Defense of Free Speech
Rights on the National Mall
Sign the Statement at www.justiceonline.org

We the undersigned are supporting the emergency mobilization of the people demanding that there be no new restrictions on free speech or protest related activities on the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is the real objective of the Bush AdministrationÕs plans for the National Mall.

Unless we take action, the Bush Administration, as one of its final acts, will leave office having dramatically altered access of the people to public lands that have been the site of the most significant mass assembly protests in U.S. history.

The National Mall has been the historic site for the people of the United States to come together to seek equality, justice, and peace. These activities are the lifeblood of a democracy. The National Mall is not an ornamental lawn. The National Mall performs its most sacrosanct and valued function when it serves as the place of assembly for political protest, dissent and free speech.

We oppose any efforts to further restrict protest on the Mall, to relegate protest to a government-designated protest pit or zone, to stage-manage or channel free speech activity to suit the government, or to stifle or abridge our rights to expression upon the public forum that is the National Mall. We call for a moratorium on further actions by the National Park Service that would in any way channel, restrict or inhibit the people's use of the National Mall in furtherance of our First Amendment rights.

Initial signers:
Howard Zinn, professor, author of People's History of the United States
Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General
Cindy Sheehan
Dennis Banks, Co-Founder, American Indian Movement
Malik Rahim, Co-Founder, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans
John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
Mahdi Bray, Exec. Director, Muslim American Society, Freedom Foundation
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Elias Rashmawi, National Coordinator, National Council of Arab Americans
Heidi Boghosian, Exec. Director of National Lawyers Guild
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Carl Messineo, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Jim Lafferty, Exec. Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
Tina Richards, CEO, Grassroots America
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, killed in Iraq
Dr. Harriet Adams, Esq.
Elliot Adams, President, Veterans for Peace
Jennifer Harbury, Human Rights Attorney
Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran, author, Born on the Fourth of July
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Latino Movement USA
Blase and Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Fernando Suarez Del Solar, Guerrero Azteca, father of Jesus Del Solar, soldier killed in Iraq
Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice
Frank Dorrel, Publisher, Addicted to War
William Blum, Author

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Last modified on Sunday, 19 February 2012 21:58
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