Senate State Affairs Committee: Protect Our Civil Liberties
Dear Idaho Lawmakers,
Before you, is a fundamental, ideological choice. Make no mistake that the action you are about to take has serious consequences for the rights of the citizens of Idaho. We are writing to urge to stand on the side of Freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to actively engage in our democracy!
The right to freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble, in visible, verbal and symbolic protest is protected by the U.S. Constitution. These rights cannot be stripped from citizens regardless of how unpopular or controversial the ideas may be. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
Public Lands have long served as spaces in our nations history as citizen forums. Historically, lands held by its citizens have served as the common ground for public expression and protest. Protests throughout our nation’s history have taken place in the public sphere and brought about real change that resonated in the hearts and minds of Americans across this country. The protests of the Vietnam War, the fight for equality for women and people of color hinged on the ability of conscientious Americans to voice their opposition and call their government to a higher standard.
Lawmakers who propose this drastic measure intend to silence dissent. Whether their reasoning is to preserve public lands for polite discourse and limit public opposition, or because they do not appreciate the tactics being used this day, or because life would be easier if visible protest didn’t bring unwanted attention. But, make no mistake it is a violation of our rights as Idahoans and citizens of this country!
Throughout history, it is people rising up in the streets, and engaging in visible protest that have forced lawmakers to enact protections and extend liberties. These tactics have brought about change and shifted the consciousness of a nation that have allowed us liberties that we all now hold dear. For our right to assemble and protest, and make our voices heard without government encroachment is precisely the measure by which we continue to advance our freedoms, our liberties and create states and a nation that is ever stronger and richer for all it’s voices.
We the undersigned urge you to stand on the right side of history and reject rules that would weaken Idahoans civil liberties and infringe upon our ability to peaceably assemble and protest and demand a better day.