feeding people in public is free speech!

posted December 2, 2009

THE FOOD NOT BOMBS GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION
To Support The Right To Free Speech

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free speech and food outside federal courts and U.S. Embassies all over the
world. Local times and locations to be posted at www.foodnotbombs.net

Efforts to silence Food Not Bombs are underway in cities all across the
United States. This case could finally end these arrests, fines and
confiscations of banners and literature.

Attorney Jacqueline Dowd  will represent Orlando Food Not Bombs in oral
arguments to defend the groups right to free speech on December 17th at the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, 56 Forsyth Street
N.W., Atlanta, Georgia USA

For the first time, a judge has ruled that sharing food with hungry and
homeless people in a public park is expressive conduct protected by the
First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That’s the most important part of the federal court ruling that
Orlando’s “large-group feeding” ordinance is unconstitutional. The
ripple effects of the ruling could reach cities across the country where
ordinances restricting efforts to feed hungry and homeless people are being
considered.

The court ruled that the Orlando ordinance violates the rights of Orlando
Food Not Bombs and the First Vagabonds Church of God to free speech and
free exercise of religion.

To establish that their conduct is expressive and protected by the First
Amendment, the members of Food Not Bombs had to prove that they are
conveying a message that is likely to be understood by the public. The city
tried to argue that their message – that society can and should provide
food for all of its members, regardless of wealth – wasn’t likely to be
understood. But Mayor Buddy Dyer testified that he believes that Food Not
Bombs provides food to the homeless only to convey its political message
– not necessarily to help the homeless.

http://www.foodnotbombs.net