Hnn | The Latest From HNN | Details

5 Ways to Fight for Your Rights (That Don’t Break the Law and Get You Arrested)

 

5 Ways to Fight for Your Rights (That Don’t Break the Law and Get You Arrested)

By Sadie Rothman

There’s been quite a bit of upset in the news lately, and some of it for good reason. When people feel their rights are being infringed upon, it’s natural to find yourself somewhere on the scale between miffed and furious. But what’s great about this country is that we have the right to protest and a right to free speech. We can speak our minds about those things that have us angry, and we can even take action. Unfortunately, sometimes passion gets the better of us and our constructive protesting turns into destructive law-breaking, which can land a well-meaning demonstrator to the slammer. Here are some suggestions on how to exercise your right to dissent while staying out of jail.

1. Recently, activist Mona Eltahawy, took action against some pretty offensive signage in the New York Subway, armed with spray paint. I’m with you, Mona: ads calling Muslims savages are not okay with me either. The issue is this: the American Freedom Defense Initiative, creators and proponents of these signs, went through all the right channels to get them legally posted in ten stations around the New York Subway. As such, when Mona painted over them, she was inarguably defacing public property. Alternative option: Organize a teach-in. Mona (and friends!) could have stood near these offending signs, offering explanations for why they are harmful and degrading. Sometimes educating people on why something needs to be protested is the most effective protest of all.

2. A petition could have been a useful tool in this case, and others. A petition is like a sit-in without actually sitting, and therefore without the possibility of being arrested for any number of reasons, from disturbing the peace to trespassing. The recent past has seen great success with petitions. It was thanks to this protesting tool that Bank of America recalled its plan to instate a new $5/month banking fee, among many other victories. The website change.org is a great tool for promoting a petition.

3. Another option would be to boycott public transit. It may be inconvenient, but no more inconvenient than finding yourself incarcerated. And if you can inspire enough people to join you, protests like boycotts can be incredible powerful and effective.

4. Broadening the scope a bit, if you’re looking to be an active and engaged citizen, one of the greatest things you can do is write your local representative. Find out who your representative is and how to best reach him/her here.

5. Last but not least, if you’re finding that your rights as a humanist are being encroached upon, contact the American Humanist Association. Our legal center provides legal assistance to defend the constitutional rights of humanists, atheists and the non-religious. We encourage you to be vigilant when it comes to supporting your rights and freedoms and to report any violations against those rights and freedoms to us.

Do you have more ideas for ways to peacefully protest or otherwise stand up for what’s right? Leave thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Sadie Rothman is the field coordinator for the American Humanist Association.

Posted 11:07AM on October 10 2012 by Jessica Constantine
Categories: 534, Ezine

American Humanist Association

Washington Post illustration by Herblock from 1963. Still an unsettled issue......

18 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Our lawsuit challenging 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance is trending on F...

19 hours ago

American Humanist Association

A major newspaper in New Jersey. The Star-Ledger, published an editorial in supp...

22 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Did you catch Roy Speckhardt's interview on Fox and Friends this morning? Watch...

23 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss it! AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt will be on Fox and Friends...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Pledge of Allegiance without the use of "Under God" did not cause harm to t...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Great News! Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island just issued a proclamation r...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

A great video for Earth Day! Isaac Asimov discusses saving the planet for future...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Responding to reporters this morning as the AHA's latest case gets national atte...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Lots of press coverage this morning on our New Jersey lawsuit challenging 'under...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Earth Day Everyone! Be kind to your Earth. It's where you live!

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Congratulations to Ventura County, California for now officially recognizing May...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Taken from a 1940's Justice Society Of America comic before "Under God" was adde...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association has filed lawsuit against “Under God” in the P...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The 2014 American Atheists Conference was awesome! Check out pictures of the Ame...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Poll! http://thehumanist.com/arts_entertainment/culture/your-humanist-...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Announcing our 2014 AHA Annual Conference Keynote Speaker, Professor Max Tegmark...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Have you had this problem? The Ethical Dilemma: My Son Sends Me E-Mails Signed...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hurry! Going to the AHA annual conference in Philly? May 5th is the last day to...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Rules Are for Schmucks: Darwin Award Nominee by Luis Granados. http://thehumani...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Cartoon History of Humanism Episode Three: The Archpoet, 12th-Century Gang...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday! The January/February, 1989 issue of the Humanist magazine...

7 days ago