Join us for the "Protect the Protest" coalition launch!
On Wednesday, CCR will participate in the launch of a nationwide coalition called "Protect the Protest" to challenge Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPPs. If you are in New York City or San Francisco, join us! Details here (NYC) and here (SF).
SLAPPs are lawsuits filed against those who speak out on matters of public concern. The purpose of SLAPP suits is not to win on the underlying merits of the case, but to burden activists with litigation so that they are so overwhelmed or intimidated that they cease their advocacy. SLAPPs are an abuse of the court system and a violation of the First Amendment rights of those who speak truth to power.
CCR is proud to represent people targeted by SLAPP suits for organizing around issues from Palestinian rights to pipelines. Among others, we represent former members of the board of the Olympia Food Co-op, sued in a SLAPP suit for adopting a boycott of Israeli goods to protest human rights violations, and Earth First! Journal, sued in a SLAPP suit by Energy Transfer Partners, partial owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, against various environmental organizations and activists. Now, we are joining an anti-SLAPP coalition that's gaining nationwide attention to work with our partners to take on the overall phenomenon of SLAPPs, to protect protest, and to push back against the destruction of social movements by lawsuit.
Follow the coalition and share on Twitter @SLAPPtaskforce and Facebook @ProtectTheProtest.
CCR et al. to corporations: Stop funding ALEC!
CCR has joined 78 other civil rights, environmental, labor, government reform, and other advocacy organizations in signing a letter urging 20 of the largest corporate funders of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to cut ties with the organization. ALEC is a nonprofit coalition of corporate representatives, state lawmakers and right-wing think tanks who meet behind closed doors to draft "model policies." State lawmakers then take these policies and pass them into statehouses as bills, which consistently benefit corporate profits and weaken human rights and social justice. Some of the more well-known ALEC policies that have become laws in many states include voter ID laws that restrict voting rights for people of color, right to work laws that gut unions and labor protections, state pre-emption laws that inhibit passage of progressive city and municipal policies, as well as other laws such as anti-BDS and stand your ground laws. ALEC claims hundreds of its policies become law each year.
At ALEC's August 2018 convention, right-wing extremist David Horowitz was a featured speaker, giving two inflammatory talks. According to the letter,
During his time in front of a cheering crowd, Horowitz painted an apocalyptic version of America where the white race and what he calls traditional Christian values are under attack by a "socialist" Democratic Party and their non-white allies…[He also made] hateful references to the LGBTQ community, people of color, public education, feminism and gender equality, and women's access to reproductive healthcare.
ALEC's corporate funders include Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Comcast, FedEx, Pfizer, UPS, Verizon and others. "Make no mistake," the letter continues, "your continued financial support of ALEC is an endorsement of this dangerous vision for our country." It asks corporations to take a stand and stop funding ALEC.
CCR demands release of Bahraini human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab
CCR has joined more than 125 human rights organizations calling for the immediate release of Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. Nabeel has long stood for universal rights, including as an early ally in calling for the close of Guantánamo and the resettlement of detainees. Following the Arab Spring and Bahrain's crackdown on human rights defenders, Nabeel has been a vocal advocate for human rights at home, including the right to protest, and around the region. For this work, he has spent much of the past six years in and out of detention. Nabeel's most recent detention stems from his condemnation of the Saudi-led coalition bombing in Yemen. Two weeks ago, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued its second opinion regarding Nabeel's detention, calling it arbitrary and discriminatory. Last week, CCR added our name to a joint statement condemning this attack on free expression and on human rights defenders generally, and calling for Nabeel's immediate release. Read the statement here, and share it using @NabeelRajab and #FreeNabeel on Twitter.