The Cleveland Indians home opener represents spring weather, renewed hope for a World Series title, and an unfortunate social stigma. It has become impossible to overlook the controversy that the Chief Wahoo logo generates as it continues to perpetuate racism against Native Americans.
“But I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible, fake reporting makes it much harder…”
If President Trump feels hounded by the news media, imagine how they feel being threatened by the U.S.
The right to dissent is a founding principle of our country. Often, in the United States and abroad, powerful forces attempt to suppress speech in times of political tension or when people are making demands for change. Yet, this is exactly when speech and assembly are most important.
In the weeks following the election, reported incidents of harassment in schools have skyrocketed. Students have been targeted as the result of their race, religion, sexuality, and gender identity, echoing the hateful and divisive campaign rhetoric of the past year. Given the impact that harassment can have on students’ education and mental health, schools must take seriously their legal obligation to “provide a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning” for all students.
Several well-established nonprofit organizations in Michigan found their longstanding holiday fundraising drives put on ice this year by Bill Schuette, Michigan’s Attorney General. Media reports that several planned fundraisers—such as fire fighters’ “fill the boot” drive for Muscular Dystrophy Association or the Old Newsboys annual fundraiser—have already been shut down based on Schuette’s aggressive (and potentially unconstitutional) interpretation of a traffic law.
Attorney Andrea Burton didn’t walk into a local Youngstown courtroom with a large banner or poster — she simply had a small metal button with the words “Black Lives Matter” on her lapel. That was enough for Judge Robert Milich to sentence her to five days in the Mahoning County Jail because she refused to remove the pin.
By Eva McKnight
Jerry Hill has been holding a sign and pleading for help on the streets of Akron, Ohio for roughly a decade. He hates the label of “panhandler,” but was required to register as one in accordance with the city’s recently repealed ordinance, just to solicit donations so that he and his family could eat.
By Steve David
For many Clevelanders, Opening Day is a special holiday. They have survived another winter, so it’s time to celebrate.
And who could think of a better way to express your joy than by wearing racist symbols and yelling epithets at people trying to reclaim their history?
By Shakyra Diaz
Should the people at the Statehouse get to decide what speech is true and what speech is false? Should state judges have the authority to declare that people cannot air certain ads, post certain billboards, or hand out certain leaflets during an election?
By Maria Bruno
As an employee of the ACLU, sometimes talking about my job can be a challenge. Those who have heard of the ACLU tend to associate us with “crazy liberals,” defending the KKK, or being anti-Christian. These are not the easiest associations to shed.
By Ellen Kubit
“What if someone were to kill you!”
This is one of the more common threats yelled at me and my fellow clinic escorts when we volunteer at Cleveland’s Preterm Abortion Clinic. Such terrorizing phrases come from a group of self-identified “pro-life” protesters, who wait outside the clinic daily to voice their dissension towards and disrespect for the clinic’s staff, volunteers, security guards, patients and women in general.
By Shakyra Diaz
Last week, Christopher John White’s difficult life met a tragic end at the young age of 34. For some time, Chris had been living without shelter in Columbus, Ohio. Official records state his address simply as “Streets of Columbus.” On November 19, Chris drowned after police attempted to arrest him for asking for help.
By Shakyra Diaz
Helping out a neighbor in need is one of the best things that we do as humans. It shouldn’t be a crime to ask for that help.
Yet Akron, Dayton, and other cities across Ohio and the country have passed laws that try to silence those in need from telling others about it.
By Steve David
The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to freedom of speech. Yet, ever since the U.S. Constitution was ratified 227 years ago, forces have been seeking to silence and control public discourse.
In recent years, wealthy individuals have undermined free speech by filing punitive lawsuits against their critics.
By Steve David
If the new protest ordinance passed by Cleveland City Council raised alarms for you, you’re not alone. Whenever government does things at the last minute with no opportunity for public comment, appropriate reactions are usually skepticism and frustration.
But considering the old ordinance was full of vague language that left the door open to abuses by the city and police, the new rules are a net benefit—despite the bad practice of their passage.
By Dan Rogan
The ACLU has always protected freedom of speech. Throughout history this has dealt with issues that were, at that time, considered uncomfortable.
Our future leaders, millennials, have been identified as the most socially liberal generation yet. So as social conscience is changing, uncomfortable issues are becoming comfortable, and those on the wrong side of history will be pushed out of the mainstream of our national zeitgeist.
On the day Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was found “not guilty” on all counts against him in the tragic and unnecessary execution-style deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, I was in complete shock.
My Reaction to the Deaths
I remember the morning after the two Cleveland residents were murdered in November 2012.
By Mike Uth
Memo to the police nationwide: You say you want respect, but you don’t seem to have even a hint of a clue on how to earn it. Here are some suggestions:
Show Respect and It Will Be Reciprocated
This starts with the mayor of your city.
“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” -Justice Abe Fortas
Mary Beth Tinker has continued to advocate for students’ First Amendment rights since she was the lead plaintiff in the 1969 landmark U.S.
“Any treatment, especially in the schools, of questions like war and peace, racism – black and white – religion and patriotism, is bound to raise disagreements and stir emotional response…We know of no way to stimulate the growth of our youth if we insulate them from the real issues.”
This week, members of the Ohio Board of Education criticized one of the literary works of fellow Ohioan and acclaimed author Toni Morrison for being “totally inappropriate.” They do not want Ohio 11th graders to read Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye because it references rape, among other controversial issues.