U.S. Constitution (200137)

The Society for Ethical Culture hosted an event March 20, at which various speakers read Declaration 17 and discussed how citizens can oppose and resist some of the current policies of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Declaration 17, currently has approximately 800 signers who represent 36 states and the District of Columbia. The goal of the evening was to heighten public awareness of the civil liberties that are granted in America’s founding documents.

Speakers included Norman Siegel, civil rights attorney; Anne Klaeysen, leader, New York Society for Ethical Culture, Linda Stasi, Daily News columnist; Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; Michael Hardy, general counsel and executive vice president, National Action Network; Herbert Teitelbaum, attorney; Jack Rosenthal, journalist; and Maria Valentin, president, Mid-Hudson chapter of the NYCLU. The Stop Shopping Chorus sang the First Amendment.

Each speaker took a section of the Constitution and related it to the current practices under the Trump administration, drawing upon what history has done in the past.

Valentin spoke about the role of sanctuary cities, as well many of the misconceptions that people think of when hearing the word immigrant.

Jesus Torres, an immigrant from Mexico, came to the event not only for himself but also to encourage his daughter to fight for her rights.

“I thought it was important to speak out and to learn what our rights are,” Torres said. “It is important another level, because this is my daughter with me, and I want her to have that understanding that there are certain rights granted by constitution. You need to know your rights and obligations to enforce them, and defend them and how to protect them.”

Some were directly affected by what was being said, and others took advantage of the learning opportunity. Denice Kondik, a singer in the Stop Shopping Chorus, found the event to be very informative.

Kondik said, “The information, the speakers the lectures what’s being presented tonight, I believe strongly this should be available to everyone all the time especially now. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to hear from people who have studied the Constitution and our laws and understand sanctuary cities, the people who will be able to actually help us.”

The night concluded with an open mic where attendees could voice their concerns. You can read Declaration 17 at www.declaration17.com.