Bremerton’s ‘Chalkupy’ movement not aloneAugust 8th, 2012 by Steven Gardner
Taylor Niemy opened a free speech conversation here by using his chalk to post Occupy messages on Bremerton sidewalks. Wednesday’s story, running alongside election results from Tuesday, has generated a lengthy conversation among our readers.
In Los Angeles it’s something more. As recently as mid July LAPD was arresting chalk protesters for plying their craft at that city’s art walk. While the magnitude is predictably greater in a much larger city, the conversations are pretty much the same as they are here. From a Los Angeles Times story: “‘We were handing out free chalk for freedom of speech,’ said Cheryl Aichele, 34, a member of Occupy L.A.”
In a separate L.A. Times story it’s interesting where a police officer draws the line between protest and vandalism. From that story: “‘The chalking was not limited to the sidewalk, it was also on the buildings,’ Frank said. ‘This was vandalism.’”
In Wichita, Kan. a blogger writes that police stopped him from chalking his protests of two recent killings.
In 2011 a federal appeals court ruled there is no constitutional right to write chalk messages on sidewalks, according to a story on The First Amendment Center website. The ruling stemmed from a complaint in Washington, D.C. that its ban on sidewalk chalk statements was unconstitutional. The court said signs and banners were fine in the public area near the White House, but that it was not a “writing tablet.”
A similar issue is happening in Minnesota.
And while Niemy is calling for a chalk event on Aug. 19, Occupy Washington, DC wants you to “Chalkupy the world” on Thursday.