The First Amendment was meant to serve as the backbone of our democracy, allowing people who are critical of the government the right to speak. Historically, white supremacists have co-opted the First Amendment to advance hate and incite violence. At the same time, we have seen People of Color’s First Amendment rights violated when they speak out against oppression and racism. The First Amendment is a vital tool that can be used to advance racial justice. That’s why survivors of police brutality and community members in Baltimore are fighting for the right to speak up against  police abuse. However, the Baltimore City government requires survivors to sign “gag orders” that are meant to silence survivors of police abuse in order to resolve their cases.  

In this episode listen to Tawanda Jones, activist, and leader of “West Wednesdays Coalition” and Deborah Jeon, legal director of ACLU of Maryland, discuss the impacts of silencing survivors of police abuse. We will also speak about the effort to re-imagine a First Amendment where everyone’s speech is protected.

Produced and Hosted by: Amber Taylor, digital communications strategist, ACLU of Maryland
Produced and Edited by: Nehemiah Bester, communications intern, ACLU of Maryland

This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

Thinking Freely, ACLU of Maryland's podcast, will inform Marylanders about what's happening politically – from the courts to the streets – so they can get involved and realize a more equitable Maryland for all. 


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