Today and tomorrow the City of Pittsburgh hosts the G-20 summit. There, the leaders of 20 industrialized and
developing global economies representing a collective 80% of world trade and 2/3
of the world population come together to discuss the international financial
In addition to the G-20 participants, Pittsburgh is also hosting groups of
individuals committed to publicly exercising their first amendments right to
free speech and free association.
The groups, in an attempt to make
themselves heard by - have organized marchs, rallies, and other actions calling
for job creation and environmental safeguarding. Seeds of Peace even set up mobile kitchens
and delivery trucks to feed protesters for free.
However - in silencing
the individual voices of dissention, the state also causes deep harm to society
at large. Public debate is at the heart
of constitutional democracy. Actions that stifle protesters cheat all of
us of the ideas and changes that stem from open expression.
As pointed out in the Time
article, public fear surrounding the G-20 protests and potential reaction from an
estimated 4000 members of law enforcement have created a virtual ghost town in
I have tremendous respect for those who, today and tomorrow,
in spite of what they face, peacefully raise their voices to fight for what
It is those on the front lines, actively exercising the full
measure of their rights – who help protect all of us from a creeping curtailment
of civil liberties.
For more information - The ACLU of PA is tracking and publishing
complaints about problems between G-20 protestors and law enforcement which you