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Advancement Project Calls on Universities to Stop Suppressing Protests

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WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the protests on college campuses across the country, Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project, issued this statement:

“Free speech, the right to organize and protest have been pivotal to our progress toward an inclusive democracy. Across the country, college students are lifting their voices and pushing for change through peaceful protests. Protesting may not be convenient for those who hold power. However, the intent and principles behind the First Amendment protect it.

“We demand that universities stop calling upon local and campus police departments to suppress these protests. Already, we have seen excessive force from police including the use of tear gas and tasers, on top of widespread intimidation of students. Students have been arrested, suspended, and even expelled for exercising their rights.This cannot be allowed to continue. Young people have every right to make their voices heard.

“This country has a sordid history of attempting to silence protesters and using police force to do so. As a racial justice organization we are keenly aware of how police have harmed and been used to intimidate the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement, the Black Liberation movement and more recently the movement for Black lives. And since the 2020 uprisings after the murder of George Floyd, there has been a dangerous trend of 12 anti-protest laws enacted that undermine speech and dissent. These kinds of laws target Black, immigrant, low-income, and other marginalized people who face a major risk and bear the greatest burden when protesting.

“These young people are showing us what it means to follow their conscience and fully participate in our democracy. We come together to protest because we believe in the promise of a better world, created by collective action.”

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Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. We are a co-convener of the National Campaign for Police Free schools, a formation of 20+ youth-led grassroots organizations fighting to end the criminalization of youth in the classroom, create liberatory educational spaces, and implement an affirmative vision of safety and transformative justice.Visit to learn more.

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