By Keith Bernard
Congratulations to Indivisible Mystic Valley, Mass Peace Action and our partners in the January Coalition for their recent success with the ACLU suing the City of Cambridge MA.
After this year’s Women’s March, the city sent an unexpected bill for services for police details, emergency and city services as well as paying for police details provided from other towns and cities.
Not only was this an undue financial burden on our groups, it struck at the heart of our First Amendment rights to gather and protest peaceably. Due to the efforts of the ACLU of Massachusetts, the City of Cambridge not only withdrew the bill and waived all charges, but are putting policy into place that ensures that no group will be charged for public assemblies and demonstrations.
“We are delighted that the City of Cambridge has adopted a policy that will set precedents and guarantee everyone, regardless of means, the right to assemble – and we thank the ACLU of Massachusetts for its work,” said Zayda Ortiz of the January Coalition. “When freedom of speech comes with a price tag, it especially burdens marginalized groups, who might have fewer financial resources for charges. We hope that other municipalities across the Commonwealth can mirror this policy and safeguard our constitution. When the voices of the unheard are liberated and amplified, our society grows stronger.”