Protecting Voices and Viewpoints Means Protecting Democracy

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, TX, brings awareness to women's contributions and issues with its annual International Woman's Day march. In 2009, the city instituted a new ordinance requiring a $5,000 fee for groups organizing marches, which volunteers would have a difficult time raising. The San Antonio Free Speech Coalition (SAFSC) is suing to reverse the ordinance, but local media coverage regarding informing the public about this barrier to First Amendment rights, remains scant.

The San Antonio Express-News interviewed the SAFSC's attorney on the ordinance case, but the story went unreported without explanation. "Disadvantaged communities risk losing a vital forum, and they are already overwhelmingly the same populations that are invisible in traditional media," said Graciela Sanchez, executive director at Esperanza and an SAFSC member.