Thousands of women all across the country will be working their way to D.C. on Jan. 21 to begin what many believe is the beginning of a revolutionary wave. Publicized as an all-inclusive march, vowing to help the voices of the minority prevail, is a moment we will witness only a few days before our newest president makes the oath to faithfully execute the laws of our land.
It is encouraging to know that so many individuals are going to trail across the country to stand up and voice what they believe in. Have you decided to make the trip? And if so, have you nailed down what your rights are? Anticipation for high numbers of law enforcement officers have made it very important to understand your rights while protesting or demonstrating.
Here are some items you should remember to ensure everything goes down smoothly:
1. The First Amendment.
You have a right to free speech; the First Amendment prohibits restrictions on free speech. That being said, respect for one another is highly encouraged as not to incite any violence.
2. Stay on public property.
The organizers of the march have worked with numerous law enforcement agencies and the Parks Department to ensure that permits for the march have been confirmed. It is important to understand that if you choose to veer off the marching path and go into a privately owned space, your rights may be compromised.
The owners of private property may set rules surrounding private property; if you choose not to comply, the are allowed to kick you off their property. Disorderly conduct on private property can also lead to an arrest.
3. If you are arrested:
Always remember you have the right to remain silent and anything you say or do can be used against you. Make sure you know the contact information for places like the National Lawyer’s Guild of D.C., the ACLU of D.C. or even the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
If an officer has arrested you and you do not believe that they have done so on constitutional grounds, it is best to comply at the place of the scene and find an attorney as soon as given the opportunity to do so. If you are arrested on terms found where your First Amendment rights were violated, you will be free to go.
4. Stay next to your closest friends.
In order to help reduce the chances of any mishaps happening. There is anticipation of a counter-protest forming. Remember to choose your position and to listen to the lead that march organizers will be taking. It is crucial, that the path of the march be as synced as possible, so that there is less of a possibility of having issues arise.
Remember that this fight is going to be an incredibly long one, that action must be taken every day after that march in order to ensure that no one is deprived of their rights or the opportunity to live a free life.
5. Don’t get violent.
That probably goes without being said, but if you see someone getting violent, it is in your best interest to stay back and not get involved. There will be numerous law enforcement officers to arrest anyone who may be acting disorderly.
With all of that said and done, I want you to write down five reasons as to why this march is important to you. Who do you represent? Who do you support? What steps are you going to take to ensure that there is no social injustice and that no one’s civil liberties are violated? It is an incredibly historic event that you’re giving yourself the opportunity to participate in, and share with so many other people.
Just remember that this fight is going to be an incredibly long one, that action must be taken every day after that march in order to ensure that no one is deprived of their rights or the opportunity to live a free life. You had enough passion to get there, and it is so important to keep that passion alive.
So, get out there, kick some butt, and stand up for your rights and your freedom. If you need one and have the opportunity to pick up a pocket constitution from your closest ACLU office, you should definitely do so. If not, just keep all that information in hand and fight to keep this Democracy alive.