EASTON, MD – The Move the Monument Coalition, its organizers, and the ACLU of Maryland have sent a letter to Talbot County officials blasting them for imposing unconstitutional restrictions – including a requirement that organizers secure a million-dollar insurance policy – on a Juneteeth march and rally against a Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn in Easton.
Quote from Jessica Taylor, a member of the Move the Monument Coalition’s Leadership Team:
"The Move the Monument Coalition has, from the beginning, endeavored to work closely with Talbot County to ensure that our march and rally will be safe and peaceful. For the county now to try to restrict our ability to express our First Amendment rights is nothing short of unconstitutional. We will not be deterred. We will meet and march on June 19."
Quote from Richard Potter, president of the Talbot County Branch of the NAACP:
“Here is another example of the county council attempting to deny public voices from being heard on the issue of the Confederate monument on the Courthouse Lawn. The behavior and actions that this council is undertaking to deal with this matter resembles those of the Jim Crow era. The message that is being sent from the council to the public is, ‘We stand with those individuals who wanted to preserve slavery in its fullest form, and to you current abolitionists/allies we will make it difficult for you to exercise your constitutional rights to bring attention to this issue any further. We as a council have spoken and our decision is final now move on….’”.
Quote from Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland:
“Like the poll taxes of the Jim Crow era, it is racist and unconstitutional for Talbot County to impose a highly unorthodox financial tax on the exercise of free speech by residents seeking racial justice in their own community. The outrageous requirement that Move the Monument organizers secure a million dollar insurance policy to rally against Talbot County's monument to white supremacy and to celebrate Juneteenth with their community must be lifted – NOW.”
Earlier in May, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, the Talbot County Branch of the NAACP, attorney Kisha Petticolas, and community activist Richard M. Potter joined with the ACLU of Maryland and the Washington, D.C. law firm Crowell & Moring LLP to file suit in federal district court in Baltimore challenging as racist and illegal Talbot County’s placement and retention of a Confederate monument on the grounds of the county courthouse in Easton — the last on public land in Maryland.
View the legal complaint and learn more, here.