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If you want to protect protest rights, you’ve got to condemn violence

Jul 7, 2022 by Casey Mattox

Violence is not a right and is never justified. Unfortunately, it feels increasingly common.

Nearly 50 years after Roe v. Wade was decided, the Supreme Court — less than two weeks ago — overturned the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

This decision, and the issue at its heart, is one that inspires passion in Americans of many different backgrounds, experiences, and ideologies. As a First Amendment attorney, I want to stress that you don’t have to have a stake in the fight in order to denounce violence and protect people’s ability to peacefully protest.

Across the country, institutions associated with the pro-life movement — including but not limited to pregnancy clinics and churches — experienced vandalism, and the possibility of violence between protesters and anti-protesters seemed likely.

Fortunately, there are resources available to community leaders when it comes to best practices in policing, de-escalating tensions, and non-violent resolutions to conflict, among others.

  • Police departments can play a critical role in ensuring community safety by adopting best practices for protests laid out in NYU Law Policing Project’s guide.
  • Local leaders looking to support non-violence can reach out to nonprofits, faith leaders, and networks of organizations found in the Bridging Divides Map created and maintained by the Bridging Divides Institute (BID) at Princeton, a non-partisan research organization that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States.
  • Public and private leaders can find critical resources in BDI’s De-escalation Toolkit.

If you’d like to hear more from me on the implications of the debate around this issue related to free speech, I recently published a piece at WORLD magazine about government and Big Tech. And you can learn more about how Americans for Prosperity protects every Americans’ First Amendment rights here.

Civil liberties are the solution to uncivil times. Join the defense of Free Speech:

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