FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica O. Guerrero
Monday, April 26, 2010
Precedent-setting Federal Court Case to be Heard in New Orleans
The oral arguments in the case of the International Woman’s Day Planning Committee and the San Antonio Free Speech Coalition v. City of San Antonio, TX will be heard this Tuesday, April 27th at 1pm at the Federal Courthouse of New Orleans, LA, preceded by a Press Conference at 11:30am. A bus load of mujeres/women, elders and youth traveled from San Antonio, demonstrating overwhelming community commitment to the struggle for access to our streets and our 1st amendment right to freedom of expression.
After “immigration marches” of 2006 overwhelmed San Antonio’s streets with people willing to speak out against injustice, City officials began to examine existing regulations for street processions and marches.
In November of 2007, the City of San Antonio passed an oppressive marching ordinance that allows City officials to arbitrarily assign prohibitive fees to different groups for permission to march in the streets. This type of ordinance keeps some groups from carrying out marches while facilitating the permit process for others whose message is approved by the City. This also stifles cultural processions and keeps poor and less connected organizations from expressing their views, a first amendment right.
The first judge assigned to this case granted the community’s request for an injunction on the marching ordinance, later recusing himself from this precedent-setting case. The second judge met the City’s request to lift the injunction, proceeding soon after to dismiss the case altogether. Understanding the significance and national precedence of a case like this, the community submitted an appeal to the 5th Circuit to be heard in oral argument this Tuesday at 1pm.
A Press Conference will precede the oral argument at 11:30am in front of the Federal Courthouse of New Orleans, Louisiana. Community members from San Antonio and New Orleans will announce the solidarity between the two and the importance of other U.S. cities joining these efforts. The outcome of this case will set a precedent, potentially limiting freedom of expression for millions of people of color and working class communities across the United States. For more information or interview requests contact Jessica O. Guerrero at esperanza or (210) 262.0654.