MEMBERS of the Greater Miami Chapter enjoyed drinks, dim sum, and the camaraderie of their fellow civil libertarians on the evening of Friday, November 3, at the de la Cruz Collection in the Design District.
By Baylor Johnson
ONE OF THE FIRST things I witnessed after I became part of the staff of the ACLU of Florida was what happens when politicians are given the power to decide who gets to be a part of our democratic process and who gets left out.
I joined the staff just weeks before a new governor and cabinet were sworn in. In one of their first acts, this new cabinet made a decision that has added tens of thousands of people to the total who cannot vote in Florida — and our state constitution allows them to do it.
WE NEED A MILLION total signatures before New Year’s Day to get on the ballot in 2018. Here’s what you can do:
- Registered Florida voters can download a Voting Restoration Amendment petition at floridiansforafairdemocracy.com. Print extra forms and give them to friends.
- Mail the forms to: ACLU of Florida, 4343 West Flagler Street, Suite 400, Miami, FL 33134-1585.
- Get active with your local chapter. Email Secretary Nicole Sinder, miamiaclusec at gmail.com.
- Find local events on the People Power site, PeoplePower.org, or host your own.
By Jeffrey Hearne
PRESIDENT TRUMP and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have sought to encourage, and where that has failed, to compel local law enforcement agencies to help the administration pursue its mass deportation agenda. On March 11, 2017, at the Resistance Training held at the University of Miami, the ACLU announced its nationwide Freedom Cities initiative to oppose the deportation agenda.
This campaign encouraged ACLU members to speak with local officials and police chiefs to request that cities and counties enact ordinances or pass resolutions affirming the constitutional rights of its immigrant residents.
By Lauren Kain Whaley
ON APRIL 21, 2015, City of Miami Police arrested Andrew Toombs for panhandling on the streets of downtown Miami. Arresting a homeless person begging for change on the streets of Miami has been a common occurrence for the local police department.
However, thanks to Toombs and the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, City of Miami Police may no longer arrest people who are simply asking for change in downtown Miami. On August 3, 2017, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami-Dade County struck down as unconstitutional the City of Miami ordinance prohibiting “soliciting, begging, or panhandling” in the “Downtown Business District.”
By Carlene Sawyer
THE ACLU OF FLORIDA Greater Miami Chapter held an information and discussion forum on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) on June 10 at the Miami Beach Community Church fellowship hall.
Howard Simon, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida, moderated a panel of civil rights activists representing issues and organizations that will be affected by any changes the commission effects.
By Todd Scher
FLORIDA’S 18-MONTH moratorium on executions ended on August 24, 2017, with the execution of Mark James Asay. Since then, Governor Rick Scott has resumed the signing of death warrants now that the courts have resolved many of the legal issues about the constitutionality of Florida’s death penalty.
Despite the fact that well over 100 death row inmates have had their death sentences vacated in light of court rulings that have declared Florida’s capital sentencing statute unconstitutional, the Florida Supreme Court has thus far refused to apply these rulings to older death penalty cases, thus leaving many inmates vulnerable to execution.
By Christina Mancing
PETER BEACH is a new board member of the ACLU of Florida Greater Miami Chapter; he has a unique background and strong activism roots that have already made him an invaluable member of our group.
Beach grew up in a small town near Boston. His childhood activities consisted of Boy Scouts, baseball, bicycles, and fishing. As a grade-school kid in the mid-late 1960s, the social injustices he saw on television, including race riots, segregation, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, had a profound influence on his life, sparking his becoming a civil rights activist.