August 2013, Vol. 12 No. 08
View this newsletter as a webpage: http://www.bordc.org/newsletter/2013/08/
As the country continues to focus on the National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, a rising tide of criticism has confronted the surveillance state.
In the last month, BORDC and coalitions we support across the nation have appeared in various press outlets to promote concerns about constitutional rights and the powers of police and intelligence agencies that abuse them.
Have you read BORDC’s blog lately? The People’s Blog for the Constitution has attracted a growing audience that has tripled over the past year. Featuring news & analysis beyond the headlines on a daily basis, it offers a great way to stay up to date and informed.
Highlights from the past month include:
Every month, BORDC honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in his or her community to the movement to restore civil liberties and the rule of law. This month, the Patriot Award goes to Janet Weil for her extraordinary and committed activism and organizing over the last three decades.
To view campaigns supported by BORDC at a glance, visit our interactive campaign maps for local coalitions addressing surveillance and profiling by local law enforcement, or military detention under the NDAA. To get involved in any of these efforts, please email the BORDC Organizing Team at organizing (at) bordc (dot) org. We’re eager to hear from you and help support your activism!
- Nationwide: Activists challenge Congress during August Recess
- Montgomery County, MD: Grassroots activists challenge NSA spying
- Boston, MA: Coalition of privacy activists grows
- Providence, RI: Townhall challenges local politicians
- New York, NY: Amash amendment supporter challenged by constituents
- Chicago, IL: Coalitions voice support to defund NSA
- San Francisco, CA: Activists protest Pelosi
- Washington, DC: Coalition plans national mobilization challenging renewal of Verizon court order
- Miami, Orlando, and Tallahassee, FL: Statewide mobilization on immigration, mass incarceration
- New Orleans, LA and Newark, NJ: Cities adopt policies to limit cooperation with ICE
- King County, WA: Moves towards ending local law enforcement immigration support
At the end of July, a military court acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of “aiding the enemy,” a charge with dangerous implications for journalists. Manning supporters, however, should not be too quick to celebrate; the court convicted him of twenty other crimes and Manning faces nearly 100 years in prison.
On Monday, August 12, New Yorkers won a historic victory with a federal court ruling that the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) use of stop and frisk policing violated the constitution. Judge Shira Scheindlin found that the tactic violated both the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiffs and their attorneys, the Center for Constitutional Rights, brought the case to challenge blatant racial profiling by the NYPD.
Calls for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to face prosecution for lying to Congress continues to escalate. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been one of the strongest voices for transparency around NSA surveillance.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected a challenge to the sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could allow for indefinite military detention of those who are suspected of substantially supporting terrorism.
As Janet Napolitano steps down as Secretary of Homeland Security, President Obama has looked for a new candidate to fill the position. Raymond Kelly, Police Commissioner of New York, has been cited as a possible successor to Napolitano, but his appointment would likely exacerbate the profiling and surveillance of Muslims throughout the country.
BORDC recently developed a grassroots action toolkit, a resource to provide guidance to grassroots constitutionalists engaging federal policymakers while in their home districts on recess.
August 28, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Groups and individuals will recreate the event on August 24 by traveling to Washington and gathering at the Lincoln Memorial, the setting where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
September brings more than the end of summer and the start of the academic season. September 17 marks Constitution Day, commemorating the day, September 17, 1787, when our Constitution was signed.
On July 4, there were protests in dozens of cities standing in support of the Fourth Amendment and against unconstitutional NSA spying. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee is proud to support the Restore the Fourth movement, and played an especially active role in building a coalition to support the rally in McPherson Square in Washington, DC. This is a guide we put together about planning and executing successful protests. Please feel free to cross-post this anywhere you’d like.
To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC has provided microgrants to coalitions that have participated in one of BORDC’s anchor convenings, such as the May 2013 convening in the Bay Area, CA. Grants of $300 to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility, host events, and/or build capacity.
Here’s an online opportunity to connect the dots and encourage greater respect for constitutional values by your state and federal representatives.
Help BORDC restore the rule of law
- Get involved! Volunteer, organize, raise your voice—we have an opportunity that’s right for everyone.
- Read our blog. We publish the latest civil liberties news, plus analysis beyond the headlines.
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Bill of Rights Defense Committee
8 Bridge Street, Suite A
Northampton, MA 01060
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