Here's some of the projects we've taken on over the past few years.
Controversial speech in public spaces
You can’t have a healthy democracy without free speech. And you can’t have free speech if people are afraid to talk to each other. So HumRights has taken the debate format off the podium and out of the classroom and brings it to places where natural conversation happens: The bar. HumRight wants to demonstrate the possibility of civil dialogue on controversial issues. In 2018 we held on at Rita’s Margherita’s
Small voices matter
For two years at the North Country Fair, we provided tiny blank protest signs to people so they could air their personal grievances and celebrate their First Amendment rights of free speech and petition for Constitution Day. Last year, people filled out about 900 signs. We will do it again on Sept. 15 and 16 of this year.
Pastels on the Plaza
For more than seven years, HumRights has sponsored a square at Pastels on the Plaza, which raises money for Northcoast Children's Services. At HumRights we believe that no one is too young to learn about their rights under the U.S. Constitution.
The HSU Legal Lounge
HumRights helped students at HSU set up a legal resource center they decided to call "The Student Legal Lounge." They applied for funding from the Associated Students and held three "demonstration" events in April 2018. This year, a new groups of students is moving the project forward, with the help of HumRights.
Each year, HumRights organizes a reading of books that some people have tried to keep out of public schools and libraries. People from the community take turns reading passages from their favorite "banned" books.
Each year, HumRights takes on student interns. These interns conduct research and take on individual and collaborative projects. HumRights works with Humboldt State so that our interns can receive course credit for their work.
Our First Amendment Essay contest at Sunny Brae Middle School
In 2017, HumRights awarded $500 in prizes to students for essays that explained the importance of the First Amendment. This year, we are hoping to expand that contest to schools across Humboldt County.
A candidate's debate on Free Speech issues
In 2014, HumRights brought the candidates for Humboldt County district attorney together to debate Free Speech issues.
The Free Speech Barbecue
In 2015, HumRights applied for a permit to have a free barbecue in Redwood Park on April 20 to ensure that the City of Arcata would not close the park to prevent the annual gathering known as 420. While HumRights was taking no stand on the idea of legalization of marijuana, it was taking a definitive stand against any government closing access to a public space for the purpose of preventing a gathering of people, thereby violating their First Amendment right to assembly. Read a story about it here.
Petitioning Arcata to change its film permit policy
In 2015, HumRights discovered that Arcata was charging people $150 for the right to film on the Plaza and other public spaces even for educational projects. HumRights successfully argued that the policy violated the First Amendment and as a result, Arcata changed its policy to exempt news media and non-commercial filming.
Tabling on Constitution Day
To educate people on the significance of their 14th Amendment right to citizenship for all people born or naturalized in the United States, board member Marcy Burstiner and Intern Phil Santos encouraged people to take the U.S. test for citizenship. Most failed.