ACLU of California Statement: White Supremacist Violence is not Free Speech

Our country’s greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians.  For those who are wondering where we stand — the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence. If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.

– Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California
– Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California
– Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties