Many scientists in the United States have been moved to action as a result of the current political climate. If you’re one of them and you’re planning to join the March for Science on April 14 — or participate in other activism — it’s crucial that you know your rights.
Although the chances of running into trouble when you stand up for science are small, political activism as a scientist can be slippery. At the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, we’ve assisted well-meaning researchers who inadvertently put themselves at risk and encountered problems when they forayed into activism.
To help you safely organize and speak out, together with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), we created a free guide, “Know Your Rights: Science Activism and Protests.” It outlines concrete things you can do to protect yourself, what to do if you feel your rights have been violated, and where to find additional resources on advocacy and activism.
So, direct from our guide, here are a few key things you should do when planning to take to the streets.
First and foremost: Separate your work and activism.
Know how to demonstrate.
These are just the basics. For more detailed information and tips, read our complete guide to science activism and protests — and please share it with your marching colleagues.
The information contained in the guide concerns U.S. laws only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you have questions regarding a particular circumstance, please call your lawyer or seek free advice from a Climate Science Legal Defense Fund attorney by emailing email@example.com.
We’d like to thank the ACLU for helping us create this guide and for allowing us to adopt parts of their publications.