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For Immediate Release

Contact

Rowhan Baptiste, media@colorofchange.org  

 

Press Release

More Than 75 Advocacy Groups Call on U.S. Department of Justice to Condemn Anti-Protest Laws

Advocacy groups to the DOJ on state-sponsored bills meant to disrupt First Amendment right to protest: "This is an assault on our constitutional rights, our communities, and human rights."
WASHINGTON -

Today, more than 75 advocacy groups led by Color Of Change, MediaJustice, and Free Press sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, calling on Vanita Gupta, the Associate Attorney General, and Kristen Clarke, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, to immediately condemn state-sponsored anti-protest laws. The letter calls on Justice Department officials to make a public statement condemning the legislation and support efforts to bring litigation against states that have passed anti-protest legislation that censors and disrupts our First Amendment right to protest racial injustice.

To read the full letter, please click here.

State lawmakers have introduced more than 100 punitive anti-protest bills since the summer of 2020, and 81 this year alone. Eight states have already passed anti-protest laws this year.

“These laws, often backed by organizations affiliated with police unions, are an attempt to criminalize free speech, punish those who speak up for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and even offer specific protections for counter-protesters who harm us,” wrote the advocates.

In addition to targeting our right to protest, the laws also undermine our collective struggle for Black freedom by allowing local police to penalize municipalities that reduce funding for law enforcement and denying bail to those arrested until their first court appearance - ensuring more of our people in jail. This is an assault on our constitutional rights, our communities, and human rights,” wrote the advocates. “We have seen time and time again that where racial justice protests flourish, anti-protest laws follow.”

In Florida, Oklahoma, and Iowa, laws include deputizing vigilante violence by protecting drivers who injure protesters with their cars. A proposed bill in Indiana would ban anyone convicted of unlawful assembly from holding state employment, including elected office; and bills pending in Minnesota and Oregon would disqualify people convicted of protest-related crimes from enrolling in public assistance programs - including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and unemployment benefits.

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Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

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