Occupy Austin Chalkupies the Texas State Capitol

“Speech is Free. Expect Us” Message Supports Arrested Chalkers, Upcoming Protests

Chalk message on the Capitol grounds: Speech Is Free. Expect Us.

Photo: Snoo von Zilla

Austin, Texas August 20, 2012: Yesterday members of Occupy Austin and Peaceful Streets chalkupied the Texas State Capitol. In Austin (and nationwide), the simple act of writing with chalk on public sidewalks has faced persecution from law enforcement. On August 9, Occupy Austin joined Chalkupy the World, a nonviolent day of chalk writing declared by OccupyLA in solidarity with victims of a brutal police attack on chalkers by the Los Angeles Police Department in July. On August 9, Texas State Troopers arrested Audrey Steiner and Corey Williams while they chalked messages of free speech, healthcare and education on the sidewalk at 11th and Congress across the street from the Capitol.

On Sunday, August 19, about a dozen members of Occupy Austin, with support from the Peaceful Streets Project anti-police corruption group, returned to the Texas State Capitol to chalk together. The message they wrote on the pathways of the Capitol grounds: SPEECH IS FREE. EXPECT US. The message highlighted upcoming events which will be held during the Texas Legislature session.

Occupy Austin believes that the use of washable sidewalk chalk is constitutionally protected free speech, and several previous court rulings agree.

After her children witnessed the arrests on August 9, member Hillary Procknow, Ph.D. said, “People coming together, in public, to express themselves is something that makes the country better.”

Sarah Dickerson, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin said, “As someone deeply invested in art, both academically and professionally, I came to ‘chalkupy’ to ensure our freedom of speech and to promote human creativity. It’s a perfect, low-impact way for Occupy to spread its message because chalking is too delicate to cause any damage, and it washes away!”

About Occupy Austin

Occupy Austin is a standing protest against the unjust and harmful power of large corporations over the world’s economic and political systems and against threats to civil liberties and democracy at home and abroad. Our Occupation began on October 6, 2011 and continues to hold marches and events throughout the city.

For interviews, more information or photos and other media contact:

Kit O’Connell, Occupy Austin Media

One Response

  1. Which court rulings agree that using chalk on the sidewalk is constitutionally protected free speech?

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