Public streets and sidewalks are venues for the exchange of ideas and our First Amendment right to speak out against injustice is a cornerstone of democracy. It feels anything but free, however, when big institutions pull peaceful, law-abiding activists through the judicial system, wresting thousands of dollars from them in court fees for silently protesting. But that is exactly what has happened to three Los Angeles activists—and they are not backing down. They are demanding that their legal fees are returned for the attempt to use lawsuits as a method of stifling free speech. Progress for Science
(P4S) is a Los Angeles-based grassroots campaign that works year-round in an effort to end experiments on nonhuman primates at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). During a recent P4S silent demonstration and outreach in the neighborhood of a UCLA employee who experiments on monkeys, three activists were singled out and restraining orders were sought against them. The charges were later dropped after the judge indicated the charges were unfounded.
As a means of defending and upholding the rights of activists’ free speech rights, one of the three filed an Anti-SLAPP case, which allows for the recovery of legal fees if the legal system is used to stifle First Amendment Speech. P4S is now engaged in an appeal to protect activists’ right to protest. This is costing thousands of dollars—money that Progress for Science doesn’t have.
We refuse to live in a society where power and authority are both abused and deemed more important than justice. We cannot allow the judicial system to be abused as a tool to harass activists. Activists who are legally advocating for justice on behalf of the animals being experimented on are being harassed, and it is on us to stand up and stand strong in the face of such repression. It is horrible enough that vivisectors at UCLA get paid with our tax dollars to drug and kill monkeys and other animals; it is simply unacceptable for UCLA and its staff members to also harass and aim to silence those who work to end such violence and scientific fraud. WHERE THE MONEY GOES:
All of the funds will be used to meet the legal monetary requirements to continue with our legal proceedings. None of the money raised is going to paying our legal team- just to cover the costs of the court proceedings. If we win the case, and we expect that we will, all money that has been donated will be returned to Progress for Science’s general funds and go directly to helping end animal experimentation in the University of California system.
Please help Progress for Science raise these legal costs so that we can shift our time and focus back to the issue at hand—ending animal experiments at UCLA. With only two monkey experimenters actively experimenting on monkeys at UCLA, it is a prime time for the organizers to up the ante and work as hard as possible to meet their first goal. We cannot allow harassment to silence us or distract us from our activism. Any amount of money will be a tremendous help.
Please visit www.ProgressForScience.com
for more information about the campaign