HARTFORD, CT -- We are reaching out with news of proposed regulations that would curtail the right to assemble on federal land. We apologize for the very short notice of this news and opportunity to sign onto a letter from foundations related to these regulations that would make it significantly harder and more costly for groups to hold protests in Washington, DC. This news came to us through the United Philanthropy Forum which is trying to spread the word to as many funders as possible.
Below you will find links to the proposed regulations, as well as a letter generated by Proteus Fund. If you wish to submit comments, you can sign on to the Proteus Fund letter or you can use their letter as a model for your own organization's comments.
In addition, if you are interested in following this issue more closely, there is a webinar on Tuesday, October 23, at noon, which will focus on the next stages of litigation and advocacy. A second announcement will go out with more details once the sign on letter is submitted.
Thanks to you all for your advocacy.
We are writing with an urgent and time sensitive request.
Newly proposed National Park Service regulations governing protest on federal lands in Washington DC, would drastically curtail freedom of assembly in the nation's capital. From closing down protest in front of the White House, to charging exorbitant amounts for permits, to making the process to obtain permits significantly longer and more difficult, this new proposed regulatory plan has the potential to silence the voices of grantees of all of our foundations, no matter what issue we address.
If implemented, these regulations will dramatically alter participatory democracy and free speech in DC, and likely also would become a national model for other jurisdictions looking to significantly curtail and even shut down our constitutionally protected right to dissent which of course is a cornerstone of our democracy. There are two actions you can take:
(1) Please add your name to this sign-on letter. The public comment period for these new regulations is open until October 15, and the Proteus Fund has drafted a letter urging the National Park Service not to implement the regulations. We are writing to invite your institution to sign the attached letter, which we will submit on the 15th. Our goal is to show strong opposition from philanthropy, across our multiple program areas.
Proteus Fund legal counsel has confirmed that there is no legal limit on foundations' ability to sign on to a letter or otherwise comment on proposed regulations. Regulations are not legislation and 501(c)(3) organizations are not restricted in their ability to advocate a position related to regulations.
To add your name to the sign-on letter by Friday, October 12, please use this form >>
(2) Join us for a webinar on October 23 to learn about the next steps in this effort. Proteus' Piper Fund, in partnership with the CS Fund, Open Society Foundations, and Wallace Global Fund, will host a webinar on Tuesday, October 23 at noon. This will be an opportunity to hear about the next phase of organizing and litigation to respond to this grave threat to freedom of assembly and speech.
Please join us to learn more about this threat to the right to protest, and about urgent organizing and litigation efforts underway to respond.
If you have any immediate questions about this issue, please contact Melissa Spatz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul DiDonato, President, Proteus Fund
Melissa Spatz, Program Director, Piper Fund, an initiative of the Proteus Fund