Guide for Journalists Covering the RNC and DNC
The Digital Media Law Project put together a pdf guide for journalists covering the conventions, including specifics for each. It’s well worth your time to read it in advance!
Backpack Journalists coming together
There is a Facebook page for Citizen Journalists to coordinate https://www.facebook.com/DNCMicCheck check it out and let others know you’ll be there.
This is a collaborative effort to ensure that the message of the People is heard during the DNC2012 in Charlotte NC. Join in!
3 Members of QC7 Acquitted
August 16, 2012
3 Members of QC7 Acquitted
The members of the Queen City Seven acquitted today were in complete compliance with the Charlotte DNC ordinances and were arrested defending the rights of every member of our society to freely express themselves. Fortunately in this instance our judicial system has provided a safety net that protects citizens from politicians. We are grateful to our legal team, led by Jacob Sussman, for their hard work and dedication while assisting us.
We were arrested surrounded by crayons and paint, while making art. Art has always been a powerful voice of the people. When we have people literally living in our streets to protest the injustice all around us, we expected not only that our right to express our grievances through art would be protected, but that our politicians would in fact encourage this form of expression.
In our country, where 1% of Americans possess more wealth than the bottom 95% combined, where financial power has corrupted our government, turning elections into auctions, we will continue to stand and be counted as saying NO. Neither justice nor our political system are for sale. As part of the Occupy movement we will continue to work to create the world we would like to see. We will continue to stand with and for the 99% calling for justice.
Laws that criminalize behaviors such as art-making and backpack-wearing are outrageous and tragic. When use of crayons becomes a criminal activity our laws have become so ludicrous that we are forced as individuals to decide which laws are valid and which are not, and our entire system of law becomes suspect. We have every right to Occupy our public spaces, with art, with backpacks and with tents. The Queen City Seven chose to respect the ludicrous new laws and fully complied with them but were arrested anyway.
We understand that the police officers who upheld these laws were simply doing their jobs; they had no hand in creating them. It is the politicians who pass repressive laws who must be held accountable for the escalating tensions between police and citizens.
In less than three weeks our city will host an event unlike anything Charlotte has seen before. As Occupiers you can expect that we will call out members of law enforcement when we see instances of misconduct and abuse. But with a few exceptions the relationship between police and citizens has thusfar been a peaceful one of mutual respect. If that changes during the DNC and we in Charlotte experience the dramatic police violence that has occurred in other cities across the US, the responsibility will lie with our Mayor and the 10 members of our City Council who passed these new laws. In doing so they have shifted the peaceful climate that we have all, police and community members, worked so hard to create here in Charlotte. By insisting that police are empowered and responsible for accurately divining the intent of every person on our streets the City Council has demonstrated its lack of support for either the work of the police or the rights of residents.
We will be in the streets during the week of the DNC and we call on all our neighbors in Charlotte, whatever their beliefs, to join us in celebrating our nation’s First Amendment rights.
Jason Dow, Laurel Green, Scottie Wingfield
Activists respond to City of Charlotte with silence and humor
Charlotte North Carolina, host city of the upcoming DNC, learned a lesson monday; activists do not consider their constitutional rights up to chance or the whims of local authorities.
Charlotte plans to create a free speech zone during the DNC, the undisclosed location will have a stage and sound amplification. The city opened a lottery accepting applications online for the 60 slots and was met with a resounding silence.
Despite local news reports that there had been only 25 applications for the 60 allotted free speech slots, city staff moved forward with a bizarre media event on July 2nd. Held in the largest government building chamber, with vastly more media members present than activists (and a healthy contingent of police officers standing by) city officials drew names one at a time from a fishbowl. Everybody won. City staff requested that only the names of winners be announced; but when one presentation title was read accidentally it became clear that activists had another response: humor.
‘Right to demonstrate wherever I want’, ‘The Importance of Radical Cheerleading in a Dull, Boring World’, ‘The Superscoots Spectacular One-Woman Parade’ are just a few examples of the parade and presentation titles that Charlotte tried not to read as the lucky winners were announced.
Lesson number two: communicating with activists is a good idea. Occupy Charlotte has been calling for dialogue since January when the ‘DNC ordinances’ were proposed. In one city council meeting after another Occupiers encouraged their city’s officials to take the opportunity and become a model city, one where the rights of citizens are as respected as the rights of politicians and political parties. It is possible that the city of Charlotte believed that they were respecting the rights of activists by offering to construct a stage, which only demonstrates the need for actual conversations between city leaders and the citizens they claim to represent. The Occupy Wall Street movement has shifted the national dialogue about democracy; citizens are no longer willing to be complicit with the idea of representation controlled by the 1 percent. In the absence of genuine communication Charlotte leaders may continue to find themselves in the position of being simultaneously ignored and being make fun of. The millions of dollars the city will spend on security during the few days of the Democratic National Convention is unlikely to have any effect on protesters armed with passion and a wicked wit.
Charlotte will reopen the lottery process on July 5th, the link to play will be posted here: http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/dncinfo/Pages/default.aspx
In this post economic meltdown world, creativity is the new normal.