Twenty-eight Leading Press Organizations Sign an Open Letter to U.S. Law Enforcement To Stop Attacks on Journalists

A meeting at the National Press Club photograph courtesy of Terissa Schor from Washington, DC under CC BY 2.0

“The nation’s leading journalism and press freedom organizations today called on law enforcement, mayors and governors across the country to halt the unprecedented assault against journalists in the field covering the protests for social justice.” National Press Club

On Monday an open letter to law enforcement officials nationwide was signed by twenty-eight press freedom organizations calling on police officers to cease their attacks on journalists providing coverage of the nation’s recent protests.

The signatories include:

PEN America reports that in addition to indiscriminate use by the police of pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot gear against unarmed civilians at protests, the targeted arrests of and attacks on journalists covering these events marks a potentially devastating departure from the American tradition at a critical national moment.

“These violent attacks against the working press are an affront to our Constitutional values, namely the First Amendment and the protections it provides to the free press,” said PEN America’s Washington director Thomas O. Melia. “By trying to silence journalists, law enforcement officers are seeking apparently to prevent reporters from fulfilling their invaluable mission of informing the public, holding our leaders accountable, and providing vital information to citizens across the country. As an organization whose mission focuses on fostering dialogue across differences and amplifying lesser-heard voices, we at PEN America thank the National Press Club for leading on this timely letter reminding our nation’s police that their duty remains the protection of all law-abiding citizens, including journalists. In order for reporters to effectively bear witness to this movement at a decisive moment for our nation, these assaults must immediately cease.” 

This post is courtesy of the National Press Club and PEN America.

Jamie Dedes:

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DOING THE RIGHT THING … Unitarian Universalist Clerics Publish Open Letter of Support for Muslim Community

Rev. Ben Meyers of San Mateo, just one of the twelve clerics who signed this letter
Rev. Ben Meyers of San Mateo, just one of the thirteen clerics who signed this letter

Keeping it Kind. I am so very proud of the Unitarian Universalistist Clergy of the San Francisco Bay Area for their open hearts and their OPEN LETTER in support of the MUSLIM COMMUNITY. It was read at the MultiFaith Prayer service at the Yasmeen (Islamic) Cultural Center in Burlingame, California on Sunday, December 13, 2015.

December 13, 2015 An Open Letter

Dear People,

We are writing to call attention to a great injustice and to ask your help in addressing it.

Not that many years ago Catholics were seen as some “other” who could not be good Americans. More recently Jews suffered many insults and abuses because they did not belong to the dominant faith – again, seen as “other”. Good people rallied to stand with them and, over time, they have become so integrated into the fabric of our country that it is now unimaginable without them.

500px-Flaming_Chalice.svgToday we are seeing the same sort of prejudice and, on occasion, dreadful acts of violence directed at Muslims. They are our contemporary “other”. These are our neighbors, co-workers, and our friends. They serve in every branch of our American military. They are our doctors, lawyers, police officers, nurses, teachers and social workers. They are us.

Because of the actions of a very few, some current American politicians and others are sparking fear and hatred against the entire Muslim faith community.

In response, people of good-will and conscience must stand up and speak out. Many already have. Some, clinging to the haunting words of Pastor Martin Niemoeller, are asking “who will stand with them?” It is time to answer that question. We will. We, the Unitarian Universalist clergy of the San Francisco Bay/Peninsula, stand with the Muslim community.

We urge you to do so as well. Please take a stand and say your peace.

With faith in love beyond all beliefs,
The Reverend JD Benson, San Francisco
The Reverend John Buehrens, San Francisco
The Reverend Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, Redwood City
The Reverend Pamela Gehrke, San Mateo
The Reverend Elaine Gehrmann, Monterrey
The Reverend Axel Gehrmann, Monterrey
The Reverend Alyson Jacks, San Francisco
The Reverend Nancy Palmer Jones, San Jose
The Reverend Nina Kalmoutis, Sunnyvale
The Reverend Russ Menk, Aptos
The Reverend Ben Meyers, San Mateo
The Reverend Vail Weller, San Mateo
The Reverend Amy Zucker-Morgenstern, Palo Alto

Note:  Please feel free to share this letter through WordPress’ “reblog” feature or by cutting and pasting. If you’d like me to the post in HTML to make it easier, please let me know. J.D.