In the past 2 weeks, ADC played important roles in the passage of measures critical of the USA Patriot Act by the New York City and Los Angeles City Councils. On Feb. 4, New York City joined a growing list of over 250 municipalities around the country to formally object to massive increase in government powers and derogations of individual rights under the USA Patriot Act.
The New York City Council approved the resolution condemning the Patriot Act, with voting taking place only a few blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. At council hearings held earlier on the resolution, family members of FDNY and NYPD officers who died on 9/11 testified in support of the resolution.
The Washington Post quotes the bill’s sponsor, council member Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), saying “The Patriot Act is really unpatriotic, it undermines our civil rights and civil liberties. We never give up our rights — that’s what makes us Americans.”
The Post also quotes Monica Tarazi, Director of ADC’s New York office which lobbied for the resolution, saying “This country is not about registering [people] and ethnic profiling. We need this [resolution]. We need this as Americans.”
A few days earlier, on Jan. 21, the Los Angeles City Council also voiced its opposition to provisions in the PATRIOT Act, and ADC’s LA chapter was an important part of the coalition that secured this important achievement. Ban Al-Wardi, President of ADC’s local LA chapter, joined the bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Jan Perry at a press conference in celebration of this important development along with Councilmember Eric Garcetti; the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) Executive Director, Ramona Ripsten; Rita Walters, President of the Los Angeles Library Commission; Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director of Muslim Public Affairs Committee; and representatives from neighborhood, labor, and other community advocate groups.
“As a City, we pride ourselves on being inclusive and protecting the basic rights of all people. Significant portions of the PATRIOT Act destroy this spirit of inclusion and encourage racial profiling and other violations of our rights as people of this great nation,” said Perry. “This is an opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to join other major cities across the nation to voice its concern to our federal government.”
Over 250 cities and municipalities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit and San Francisco, have passed resolutions critical of the USA Patriot Act, along with the state legislatures of Hawaii, Alaska and Vermont – in total representing about 43 million people in 37 states. ADC is a co-plaintiff in the first major legal challenge to a section of the Patriot Act, which challenges Section 215 which allows for unfettered government access to confidential information such as medical, educational and library records without probable cause or appropriate judicial review.
The text of the New York City resolution can be read at: http://www.nycbordc.org/resolution0909-2003.html
For an update on ADC’s legal challenge to section 215 of the Patriot Act: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2054