On March 11, 2017,  the UUGSB helped to host the largest live stream in Suffolk country for the ACLU Resist Seminar. There were more than 2,200 house parties across the United States who decided to stream this event! Ruth was a volunteer who came forward for the ACLU to help host the event in our space, and it was a great example of one way to be active within this movement! She was a lovely host, and we hope to have her back for the next meeting to further this agenda. That meet up will be on Saturday, April 1st at 4:30pm at the UUGSB.

In response to the sweeping changes presented by this administration that threaten human rights, equality, and much more the ACLU is scaling up their staff. They have added staff nationwide and are looking to help build grassroots organizing to help shift the government to actually represent ALL of it’s people. During this live stream we heard from many different speakers who offered different viewpoints and actions for the audience to digest and move forward with.

Mr. F. Shakir used his time on stage speaking to promote a webpage designed to connect movements and local events in hopes that more people will support each other and stand up for democracy. [ www.peoplepower.org connected to ACLU] He spoke of the need to create freedom cities, which is the term for the webpage movement I just provided a link for! The need for cities to see what other cities are doing in terms of grassroots organizing and lobbying for positive change for a better world is growing every second. There is power in numbers, we have seen this proven to us with the powerful marches that have happened already this year on Washington! He also shared his personal email address on stage to hear from all of us to see what our ideas are! [Fshakir@ACLU.org]

Lee Roland was the next speaker to take the stage at this event and they work with the ACLU on free speech. It is incredibly important to know the tools available to you while participating in constitutional protest.:

  • Equality and justice for all.
  • You cannot be silenced in public places for protesting.
  • If you get a permit, it can be beneficial for things like sound amplification, a right you wouldn’t have without a permit among other things.
  • In parks you only need a permit if you have over a certain number of persons involved, each park is different. Be sure to check! The exception to this rule? BREAKING NEWS. Example: Michael Brown protest.
  • Airports can stop disruptions to the flow of business but cannot silence you. *protesting outside of the courts is allowed, but not inside.
  • Town halls and local govt you cannot disrupt the flow of activity but they cannot silence you.
  • Arm yourself with know your rights. [link will be provided at the end of this article.]
  • Recording, photography is allowed. Do not interfere with arrests, film from a safe distance.

These are just a few things that can help you protect your rights and the rights of others.

The third speaker was the Lead Director of the ACLU, Louise Melling and she spoke to us about healthcare. At the present time the American Medical Association and AARP as well as many physicians have spoken out and are against Trumpcare. If this horrible system is enacted Planned Parenthoods will lose funding, which will cause locations to close. When places like this, which have a long history of helping people get health insurance, prenatal care, std testing, etc, close it effects the surrounding areas greatly. Even though currently abortions are not paid for by federal funding in any way, Trumpcare targets abortion and will make it almost impossible to pay for, afford, and get coverage for. This alone will be life threatening for many people all across our country. Our govt officials are planning to vote on Trumpcare and sign this into law before April. This means the American people will not even have ample time to express to their opinions to their elected leaders before this is passed. That is not democracy, at all. We MUST contact our representatives and continue use our voices to tell them where we stand on this matter.

The second to last speaker spoke mostly on the hateful travel ban put in place by our President. When the first ban was announced the ACLU worked overnight fighting case by case to keep our immigrant brothers and sisters safe, to make sure they were able to come home. Unfortunately our government has not yet given up on this hateful ban and has pushed a second, revised ban that is just as damaging as the first. We must voice our opinions to our representatives and let them hear our disgust! The Government is also trying to bully cities with defunding for deportation pushes. We cannot allow this to happen, we cannot allow our local law enforcement to carry out these deeds or comply. If we do, public safety will suffer if individuals feel scared to come forward. We must push our cities to protect our immigrant brothers and sisters. The raids going on sometimes consist of two officers, trying to gain access to a home to make an arrest. They MUST have a valid, signed sealed warrant by the judge to enter the home and the address has to be the address they are trying to gain access to. Other times the raids are fully militarized, with officers in swat gear. This is such an unnecessary presence for an arrest of an immigrant. It is done this way to make us fearful and silence us. It will not work, we HAVE to hold them all accountable. Trump is ordering 10,000 new hires in ICE, that DOUBLES the current employment numbers. This is absolutely a war on our brothers and sisters, and they have even [at times] stopped passengers from disembarking DOMESTIC flights, asking for ID to apprehend possible immigrants. I worked at an airport, I have never in my life seen or heard of this happening. There is absolutely no reason for it, and these actions are done simply to instill fear in the American people. The ACLU urges you to put pressure on ICE and film any and all interactions you see them having during a raid. Let them know we WILL hold them accountable, we will say their names, we will fight to keep our immigrant brothers and sisters home with us.

The last speaker was Top Chef Judge Padma Lakshim and she told her personal immigration story, things she has seen, and injustices she wishes were never committed. She reiterated that their main message that ran through all of the presenting speeches was the power of the people, encouraging people to be the protagonist, put pressure on officials via lobbying, making phone calls, spreading the word as far as you can to whomever you can. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and we should not feel intimidated to play our part.. we should feel obligated.

At the UUGSB there is a People Power Packet that goes over the seminar, it is a ACLU Resistance Training Action Guide. Look out for it this Sunday in the area we enjoy coffee hour, or download a PDF! In it you will find the sneak peek at the next meetings agenda!

Please contact the ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.

https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights

https://www.aclu.org/contact-us

Jennie Ahrend
Co-Chair Social Action Committee, UUGSB
Chair Rising Phoenix Women’s Committee, UUGSB