Manual for Protesters and Lawyers Working Together: The 2022 Resource Guide – A Project of the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School

Legal Briefing for People Considering Civil Disobedience in Louisiana


What Kinds of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Actions Can Result In Me Getting Arrested?

For hundreds of years, social movements around the world have used non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic to challenge unjust laws. In the US, the First Amendment generally protects your right to protest and engage in political speech. However, the courts have said that the government can limit where and how protests occur. If you block a sidewalk, trespass on private or restricted property, block the street, or fail to follow the orders of a cop you can get arrested even if you weren’t planning to. Further actions of non-cooperation after you have been arrested, like going limp, can result in additional criminal charges. Common charges brought against protesters for acts of civil disobedience include criminal mischief, criminal trespass, entry on or remaining on land after being forbidden, obstruction of a highway, disturbing the peace, resisting an officer and failure to disperse. More details about charges frequently faced by protesters can be found in the document “Common Louisiana Laws Enforced Against Protesters.”

What Are The Consequences If I Am Prosecuted and Found Guilty? Will I Have To Pay Restitution?

Although your intention could be peaceful protests, you may face fines, jail time, and/or probation for participating in demonstrations. Misdemeanors are usually punishable by up to one year in parish jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. For example: Say demonstrators occupy a highway or major road as an act of protest. In Louisiana, occupying a highway can be both a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on whether human lives are endangered. A misdemeanor highway occupation offense comes with a $200 fine or up to a six-month jail sentence. Another common protest charge is vandalism, which can be both a state or federal offense. It is a crime to damage or destroy any property of the U.S. or Louisiana governments. If the damage is less than $500, you could get up to a $500 fine or some jail time. But more expensive acts of vandalism— greater than $50,000 — come with hefty fines of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison. If a protest gets more heated and demonstrators push past police lines or barricades, you could face charges of resisting and/or assaulting an officer and be forced to pay a fines of not more than $500 and up to six months in jail. Note that you could face multiple charges against different officers and, therefore, multiple $500 fines.

Restitution is different than a fine. Restitution is designed to make the injured party whole again—for example, if a window is broken during an action, then protesters might be ordered to pay restitution (money) for the cost of repairing the window. Companies like ETP regularly argue that protest actions on one small parcel of land cost them huge sums of money—for example $65,000 a day— but a judge will determine what, if any, restitution is granted. Restitution can also be ordered to a municipality. For example, a DA in Massachusetts dropped charges against two climate change protesters for their 2013 “Lobster Boat Blockade” but ordered them to pay $2,000 each in restitution to the local government and police force.

How Should I Prepare?

There is often a lot of preparation before an act of civil disobedience, especially in the time of a pandemic. You and your support/affinity group will likely want to: attend trainings on non-violent civil disobedience; share information with each other including your name, birthday, medical needs, and emergency contact numbers; make sure to have one person who will be YOUR support person to follow you through the process and be the point of contact with the jail, the legal team, your family and friends; know where people who are arrested are likely to be taken; discuss whether or not folks want to be bailed out and if so, who will cover bail money; identify lawyers who are willing to help; circulate and write in magic marker on your skin the legal hotline number; and make a plan for how to document your possible arrest. On the day of the action, wear warm clothes, PPE (personal protective equipment including a face mask and gloves), hand sanitizer, and have some form of identification—but nothing else—on you. Do not carry money and make sure you are not carrying a penknife, medicine, or drugs, if at all possible. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other demonstrators as much as possible, and self-sanitize your hands often. Your cell phone should always be password (not thumbprint) protected, but do not have your cell phone on you if you plan to be arrested. If possible, give your phone to someone else to hold before you get arrested.

Are There Special Concerns To Be Aware Of Related To COVID-19?

 Yes. COVID-19 is still a global pandemic, and most major U.S. cities have yet to return to normal functioning. You should always wear a mask to protests to avoid spreading germs to others, and be aware that other attendants may not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others in public places during COVID-19, which is a difficult — if not impossible — guideline to follow at a protest. Attending a protest during a pandemic is an extremely high-risk activity, and elderly, immunocompromised, and other vulnerable people should check in with their doctors before attending demonstrations.   Jails often do not adhere to social distancing and masking protocols.

How Long Will It Take For My Case To Work Its Way Through The System?

 The District Attorney has two years to prosecute misdemeanors and between four and six years to prosecute felonies, depending on the severity of the alleged crimes. Municipal charges, however, can vary, with some municipalities only allowing prosecution for six months for misdemeanors with fines. You should be prepared to return to court in the parish where the action occurred multiple times.

What Is The Difference Between a Federal and a State Crime?

If your civil disobedience takes place on a federal building (such as the Federal Courthouse in New Orleans) or on any federal property you may face federal charges. If your civil disobedience takes place on state or local property like a sidewalk or street, you will likely face state or local charges. That said, federal authorities can defer to states, and let a state prosecute crimes that happened on federal property. Most low-risk civil disobedience protesters are charged with state or local misdemeanor-level charges.

What Is The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

A misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony. Misdemeanors are usually punishable by up to a year in parish jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

What Happens After I Get Arrested?

  • Arrest After arrest, you will be handcuffed and searched on the spot. Then you will either be cited and released or transported to jail, most likely the local parish jail.
    • You are required to give the cops your name and address. Other than that, do not say anything to the police or to anyone who comes to talk to you while you’re in custody. If anyone asks you any questions you can say: “I’m going to remain silent and I would like to see a lawyer.” Repeat this phrase anytime you are questioned.
  • Booking Booking usually happens right when you get to jail, but can be delayed for hours. You should plan on time in jail for booking which might be as little as 2-3 hours or as long as 12 hours or more, including overnight. The guards will take your picture, search and fingerprint you, and ask questions about your medical history and identity (tattoos, home address, etc.). Personal items like your wallet and cell phone will be taken from you (you should get them back when you are released). Make sure not to have anything in your possession which might get you in additional trouble, such as medicines, drugs, a penknife, etc. You can ask for a copy of the booking receipt for items taken from you at this time.
  • Jail Jail means sitting around. Just getting processed in and out takes hours. You should expect to spend a number of hours in police custody; you may have to stay overnight or over the weekend.
    • The cops can lie to you about your charges and the penalties.
    • Do not answer any questions, at any times, without a lawyer present. Do not sign anything that they say is a statement you made. Do not talk to the DA, the cops, or other inmates about what happened.
    • Guards may be rude to you.
    • Water and food, when available, will be low quality.
    • To avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19, try to avoid coming into contact with other people being held.
  • Bail Bail is an assurance to the court that you will return for your hearing. The first court hearing after an arrest is called your “First Appearance.” During that hearing, a magistrate or judge determines if there is enough evidence presented to support your arrest and a bail amount is set. Bail may be pre-set for state misdemeanor and municipal offenses and may not require a hearing. Judges can reconsider bail at any time, but you cannot get released with open charges until a judge has set your bail.
    • Some people will get a free bond, known as a Release on Recognizance (ROR), which means that no bond needs to be paid to be released.
    • Many civil disobedience actions make a bail plan ahead of time so that people can be released as soon as possible.
    • Many people use bond companies to cover their bail—the companies charge a non-refundable percentage (usually 10-20% of the bail amount).
    • If you post bond and get released, you’ll get a subpoena mailed to you with your next court date.
    • Sometimes you are given a court date when you are released. Make sure that the address you have on your bond is one where you live, so that you will receive the subpoena when they serve it to that address. If you move before you get a subpoena, make sure you update your address with your bondsman and/or the court. Do not miss a court date!
    • If you are not able or do not want to post bond and get released, the state can let you sit in jail for up to 45 days for misdemeanors and 60 days for most felonies before it has to decide whether or not to accept the charges against you.
  • Arraignment Once your case is accepted, your first court date is called your “arraignment.” This is when you will plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced. If you plead not guilty, a new court date will likely be set and you’ll have to come back to court another time. Arraignment usually happens within a couple of days after arrest.
  • Additional Hearings Depending on your case, you may have to return to court for additional hearings—for example: a trial and sentencing. It is very important to never miss a court date. If you are unable to make a court date, notify your lawyer immediately.

Will COVID-19 Affect My Arrest?

It is unclear if COVID-19 will affect your arrest and detainment. While there have been reports that police have simply cited and released people for civil disobedience, numerous jails throughout the country have held people in crowded cells through the night or longer despite the high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Will My Case Go To Trial?

Most cases do not go to trial—instead the DA reaches an agreement with a defendant that is called a “plea.” If you are charged with a crime punishable by six months or more in jail you have the right to a trial by jury if you want to go that route; crimes punishable by less than six months in jail are not entitled to a trial by jury.

Are There Other Consequences of Being Arrested? Of Being Convicted?

Yes, any encounter with law enforcement can have additional consequences—even if you are arrested but never prosecuted or convicted. We call these “collateral consequences.” Some people don’t experience any collateral consequences, and they are often unlikely. That said, it is important to know what collateral consequences are in the universe of possibility. Collateral consequences are more serious for felony convictions.

The collateral consequences of being arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor may include:

  • Being denied or losing a professional license.
    • Many applications (to get certain jobs, to enter graduate school, or to secure a nursing, law or medical license) ask whether you have ever been arrested. People in the past have lost jobs or been denied admission to a school or licensure into their profession simply for having an arrest on their records.
    • Some licensing boards are required to revoke your license while others are allowed to consider a conviction as a factor in disciplining a licensee.
    • No one knows how seriously the government, private employers or licensing boards will take a non-violent civil disobedience arrest.
    • If you work in a school, even in a support, part-time, or temporary capacity, you will be subject to a criminal background check and may be denied employment or lose your job upon conviction if already employed.
  • Losing your job.
  • Losing your public housing assistance. Any person convicted of a misdemeanor, and their entire household, may be evicted or become permanently ineligible for government housing assistance (Section 8 and public housing). You may also be permanently excluded from even visiting a friend or family member who lives in public housing.
  • Increased penalties for future convictions.
  • Losing or having your federal or state financial aid frozen.
    • A misdemeanor conviction will not stop you from receiving a Pell Grant. However, people who are convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison often have federal benefits taken away from them while they are in jail. For example, people in jail or prison cannot receive Pell Grants while they are in jail. Pell Grants are not allowed to be awarded to people who have criminal convictions for drug offenses, but other misdemeanor convictions are usually not a problem.
  • Losing Social Security income.
    • Social security does not pay benefits to people who are convicted and incarcerated. Social security benefits are suspended for the entire month if one is incarcerated for any portion of that month. For example, if you are sentenced to a three month sentence you will usually lose benefits for four months. This applies to both social security retirement benefits and to social security disability benefits. If you are convicted but receive no prison time, you would keep receiving social security benefits. If in jail or prison, the benefits would be suspended while inside and re- started once released. If you are fined upon conviction and refuse to pay the fine, future social security benefits could be offset in collection of the fine.
  • Jeopardizing your immigration case or being deported if you’re a non-citizen.

In Louisiana, people with felony convictions sometimes experience additional collateral consequences, including not being able to vote (if they’ve served prison time in the last five years), own a gun, temporarily losing social security benefits, diminished prospects to foster parent, and a loss of spousal support.

Will I Have To Report To Schools and Employers That I Have Been Arrested?

If you are asked, you must tell the truth. You can say that you were arrested for a petty offense (misdemeanor) in connection with an act of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Can My Sentence Be Deferred or Suspended?

Louisiana law allows for certain sentences to be suspended and deferred. This relief is generally available to people on their first offense. At the end of their sentence if there have been no further charges or convictions, a court can “set aside” the conviction and dismiss the prosecution. This has the effect of an acquittal. Deferred and suspended sentences do not disappear from your record though—they can be brought back and treated as a prior offense for sentencing enhancement purposes if you are arrested again.

Can My Record Be Expunged?

“Expungement” means removal of a record from public access but does not mean destruction of the record. An expunged record is confidential, but remains available for use by law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, and other state agencies as stated under Louisiana law. The Justice and Accountability Center has excellent manuals and resources about expungement available on their website.

Can I be sued or held civilly liable for organizing a protest?

If you want to organize a protest, there may be a risk of being sued and held individually civilly liable for damages or actions caused by or at the protest – even if you didn’t encourage anyone to commit acts of violence or damage property. 

The courts are still in the middle of resolving this issue, in a case called John Doe v. DeRay McKesson. After Alton Sterling was killed by police officers on July 5, 2016, protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana erupted and people took to the streets to express outrage, call for accountability and justice, and demand change.  Police responded not by engaging with the substance of protestors’ calls, but with riot gear, excessive force, and illegitimate arrests. And one police officer brought a civil suit for monetary damages based on allegations that, in the midst of the protest, someone allegedly threw a rock-like object and hit the officer. The individual the officer sued is not the person who threw the object, but DeRay McKesson — an activist who was there to add his voice and to amplify others.

The courts have gone back and forth over whether the officer could sue McKesson for “negligently organizing” a protest. The trial court judge threw the case out, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals  disagreed. The Court of Appeal first concluded that Mckesson had no control over the individual who threw the object, and had not intended for the object to be thrown. Yet the judges concluded that Mckesson could be liable for the officer’s injuries.  The judges decided that during the protest, Mckesson (according to the judges’ reading of the officer’s allegations) directed others onto the street in front of police headquarters, purportedly in violation of a Louisiana law. Because that act was allegedly not protected by the First Amendment, the panel reasoned that Mckesson could be liable for any harm that followed — including another person throwing an object at an officer — as long as it was foreseeable. And, the panel concluded, it was foreseeable: As soon as people stepped out onto the street, police officers would inevitably come to enforce Louisiana’s laws, and that was enough to expect that violence could occur.

In November 2020, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court didn’t explicitly say that the Court of Appeal was wrong, but said that the Court of Appeal should have asked state courts to weigh in on state law issues before deciding an issue that touches on free speech rights like they did here.

Summary: The courts are still undecided on whether a protest organizer can be sued for the actions of protesters who commit acts of violence or property damage. There is a substantial risk that other police officers or property owners will try to sue protest organizers.

Are There Special Considerations for Non-Citizens?

Yes. Non-citizens face more legal difficulties than citizens who engage in civil disobedience. Commission of a criminal offense, or even just an arrest, may affect your ability to stay in the U.S. It is strongly suggested that non-citizens consult with an immigration attorney before engaging in civil disobedience.

Are There Special Considerations For People Under 18?

Yes. People under the age of 18 are often taken to different facilities designed for minors. People under the age of 18 may not be allowed to be released from jail until their parent or guardian arrives to pick them up. Additionally, they may be prosecuted in juvenile court and be given different sentences than adults for the same action.

Are There Special Considerations For Queer, Trans, and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals?

Yes. Queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks who have concerns are encouraged to speak to a lawyer before engaging in civil disobedience. If you have legally changed your name but have not yet updated your identification, you may want to carry a copy of the court order for your name change. If the correct gender marker is not on your identification, you may want to carry a letter from a doctor or therapist regarding your transition. You may want to bring medications with you, in their original bottles, along with your prescription.

If you are arrested, you do not have a legal right to be housed according to your gender identity, but you and your supporters can advocate for the placement of your choice. In “an effort to protect you,” a jail may house you alone. Transgender, gender nonconforming, and queer people are at increased risk for physical and sexual violence in jails.  Where you will be housed depends on the jail- most jails do not have policies regarding the housing of transgender or gender nonconforming people. Some jails house people according to what is on their identification and others house people depending on their assigned sex at birth or genitalia.

How Do I Get Legal Assistance If I Am Arrested?

If you are arrested you have the right to be represented by an attorney or to represent yourself. If you are indigent you may qualify for a free public defender. There is a great network of movement lawyers in Louisiana and we will try to provide you an attorney for free if you want.  Please contact the National Lawyers Guild. Alternately, you can always hire an attorney of your choice to represent you.


Materials from Plowshares Trial

There are numerous pleadings for this case posted at


Statement of Jessica Reznicek & Ruby Montoya on DAPL 7-24-17


For more info contact:
Frank Corddaro
515 490 2490
Des Moines Catholic Worker / Berrigan CW House
713 Indiana Ave, Des Moines IA 50314

This is our statement, we will be representing ourselves, as standby counsel and immediate contact is federal attorney, Bill Quigley,, 504-710-3074. Media contact, Amber Mae, 618-334-6035,; Melissa Fuller 515-490-5705.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an issue that affects this entire nation and the people that are subject to its rule. With DAPL we have seen incredible issues regarding the rule of law, indigenous sovereignty, land seizures, state sanctioned brutality, as well as corporate protections and pardons for their wrongdoings. To all those that continue to be subjected to the government’s injustices, we humbly stand with you, and we ask now that you stand with us.

Federal courts gave corporations permission to lie and withhold information from the public resulting in a complete media blackout. So, after recently being called by the Intercept, an independent media outlet, regarding illegal surveillance by the Dakota Access Pipeline and their goons, we viewed this as an opportunity to encourage public discourse surrounding nonviolent direct action as well as exposing the inadequacies of the government and the corporations they protect.

After having explored and exhausted all avenues of process, including attending public commentary hearings, gathering signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, participating in Civil Disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies, boycotts and encampments, we saw the clear deficiencies of our government to hear the people’s demands.

Instead, the courts and public officials allowed these corporations to steal permissions from landowners and brutalize the land, water, and people. Our conclusion is that the system is broken and it is up to us as a individuals to take peaceful action and remedy it, and this we did, out of necessity.

We acted for our children and the world that they are inheriting is unfit. There are over five major bodies of water here in Iowa, and none of them are clean because of corporation’s flagrant irresponsibility, and now another wishes to poison literally millions of us irreparably by putting us all at risk of another major catastrophe with yet another oil spill. DAPL has already leaked, and it will continue do so until the oil is shut off and the pipes are removed from the ground.

On elecion night 2016, we began our peaceful direct action campaign to a Dakota Access construction site and burned at least 5 pieces of heavy machinery in Buena Vista County, IA. Details regarding this action are attached to this statement below. This was information which was not shared with the public. We recognize that our action wasn’t much, but we at least stopped construction for a day at that particular site.

We then began to research the tools necessary to pierce through 5/8 inch steel pipe, the material used for this pipeline. In March we began to apply this self-gathered information. We began in Mahaska County, IA, using oxy-acetylene cutting torches to pierce through exposed, empty steel valves, successfully delaying completion of the pipeline for weeks. After the success of this peaceful action, we began to use this tactic up and down the pipeline, throughout Iowa (and a part of South Dakota), moving from valve to valve until running out of supplies, and continuing to stop the completion of this project. More information on these actions is followed at the end of this statement.

These actions of great public interest were hardly reported and the federal government and Energy Transfer Partners colluded together to lie and withhold vital information to the public.

We then returned to arsonry as a tactic. Using tires and gasoline-soaked rags we burned multiple valve sites, their electrical units, as well as additional heavy equipment located on DAPL easements throughout Iowa, further halting construction.

Later, in the first week of May we attempted yet again to pierce a valve located in Wapallo County, IA with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch. It was at this time we discovered oil was flowing through the pipe. This was beyond disheartening to us, as well as to the nation at large. This event was again hidden from the public and replaced with lies about “ditch depressions”.

We stand here now today as witnesses of peaceful, nonviolent direct action. Our actions have been those of necessity and humility. We feel we have done nothing to be ashamed of. For some reason the courts and ruling government value corporate property and profit over our inherent human rights to clean water and land.

We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land and liberty. We as civilians have seen the repeated failures of the government and it is our duty to act with responsibility and integrity, risking our own liberty for the sovereignty of us all.

Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken. We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property. What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampantly across our country seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply. You may not agree with our tactics, but you can clearly see the necessity of them in light of the broken federal government and the corporations they protect.

We do not anticipate a fair trial but do expect our loved ones to undergo harassment from the federal government and the corporations they protect. We urge you to not speak one word to the federal government and stand firm in order to not be oppressed further into making false, but self-incriminating statements. Film these interactions. There are resources as what to do if the federal agents appear at your doorstep, educate and protect yourself.
It is unfortunate to have to prepare for such things, but this is the government that rules, which continues to look more and more like a Nazi, fascist Germany as each day passes. We salute the people.

Details of our peaceful direct action are as follows. We hope this information helps inspire others to act boldly and peacefully, and to ease any anxieties to perceptions held that the state and these corporations are somehow an “omniscient” and “undefeatable” entity.

After studying intuitively how fires work, and the material of the infrastructures which we wished to halt (metal) we learned that the fire had to be hot enough to melt steel — and we have learned typical arsonry is not allows the most effective means, but every action is a thorn in their side.

On election night, knowing that gasoline burns quickly, but does not sustain by itself, we added motor oil (which burns at a higher temperature and for longer) and rags to coffee canisters and placed them on the seats of the machinery, piercing the coffee canisters once they were in place and striking several matches, anticipating that the seats would burn and maintain a fire long enough to make the machines obsolete. One canister did not light, and that is unfortunate, but five out of six ain’t bad.

As we saw construction continue, we realized that pipe was going into the ground and that our only means to obstruct further corporate desecration was somehow to pierce through the empty steel pipes exposed at the numerous valve sites. We learned that a welding torch using oxygen and acetylene was the proper tool. We bought the equipment outside of our city in efforts to maintain anonymity as our goal was to push this corporation beyond their means to eventually abandon the project. We bought kits at Home Depot and the tanks at welding supply stores, like Praxair and Mathesons. Having no experience with welding equipment before, we learned through our own volition and we were able to get the job down to 7 minutes. In our particular circumstances, we learned that scouting often hindered our ability to act in windows of opportunity. So, we went with our torches and protective gear on, and found numerous sites, feeling out the “vibe” of each situation, and deciding to act then and there, often in broad daylight. Trust your spirit, trust the signs.

Having run out of supplies (the tanks) we decided to return to arsonry because every action counts. We used gasoline and rags along with tires (as tires burn a nice while, once a steady fire within them burns) to multiple DAPL sites and equipment.

We were able to get more supplies shortly after and returned to a valve site in Wapello County to act again. It was then we discovered that oil was flowing through the pipeline. This was not reported to the public, instead a story of “ditch depressions” was reported to the public in Wapello County as the reason to why the pipeline continued to be delayed.

It is because of these lies we choose to come out publicly, to set the record straight, and be open about these peaceful and viable tactics against corporate atrocities.

If there are any regrets, it is that we did not act enough.

Please support and stand with us in this journey because we all need this pipeline stopped.

Water is Life, oil is death.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya


Link to Jessica Reznicek’s writings and campaigns 2012-2017

Read “Uncomfortable” by J Reznicek p.1 , Via Pacis – April 2017 issue of Des Moines Catholic Worker news paper

Click to access 2017-april-v-p.pdf


What is Miss.Stand?
Mississippi Stand was an encampment started in Lee County, Iowa the 30th of August by Reznicek in opposition to the drilling underneath the Mississippi River in Iowa.
“FaceBook” posst covering Jessica Reznicek & Miss Stand campaign on Miss. Rived from Aug 30 to Oct 21 by F Cordaro

. The encampment started with this one woman from Dallas County and has grown into a mobile caravan of resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs across the state of Iowa.

How Jess earned the nick name “Hammer of Justice”
For her sledge hammer and baseball witness on Dec 27, 2015 at the STRATCOM/ Northrop Grumman offices in Bellevue NE see below links …
“Why I acted” Hammer of Justice Jessica Reznicek’s statement from Sarpy County Jail, Jan 11, 2016
“Jailed peace activist prepares for trial, plans to put Northrop Grumman in hot seat” by Amber Williams, Via Pacis, April 2016

“Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand: Jessica Reznicek appeals to jury with Cool Hand Luke defense on trial in Nebraska” by Frank Cordaro, Via Pacis, July 16, 2016


Jessica Reznicek in her own words….
An introduction to DM Catholic Worker, Jessica Reznicek in her own words from the Via Pacis, the DM Catholic Worker news paper and community she has lived in and with over the last five years.
Links to 10 via pacis articles by Jess between March 2012 and July 2015.

Postings from National CW’s list serve from Nov 21-Dec 4 – the first 14 days of Jessica Reznicek’s Shut Down DAPL Fast, Vigil & Occupation of the IUB, DM IA

Day 14 / Dec 4 – Army Corps stops DAPL in ND, Reznicek breaks her fast … “it’s time to get healthy, reorganize, and shut this pipeline down for good!”!searchin/national-cw-e-mail-list/DM$20Catholic$20Worker$20and$20Water$20Protector$2C$20Jessica$20Reznicek$20breaks$20her$2014$20day$20$20fast.%7Csort:relevance/national-cw-e-mail-list/iLCsf9HjFcs/bZjVQAS6BAAJ

Day 13 / Dec 3 – 13th Day of Jessica Reznicek’s Fast, Vigil and Occupation at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) offices begging the DAPL be Stopped!!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/qOjmx6m7rJI

Day 12 / Dec 2 – DMCW Jessica Reznicek 12th Day Fast at IUB Report; new banner, new vigil schedule and call for direct action Wen. Dec 7..!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/YwNqTg3vRGY

Day 11 / Dec 1 – Two fasting Water Protectors out of jail. Reznicek continues fast, returns to Iowa Utilities Board tomorrow a.m, a call for nonviolent direct action Wed. Dec 7th at IUB …. message from the DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/MihOTf2OZ18

Day 10 / Nov 30 – Two fasting Water Protectors arrested in Iowa Utilities Board lobby demanding meeting with IUB Chair … a call for
nonviolent direct action Wed. Dec 7th at IUB …. message from the DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/9fMfVgoojqI

Day 7 / Nov 27 – 7th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report … from Frank Cordaro DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/g-INEJUQ3Mc

Day 6 / Nov 26 – 6th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report …. from Frank Cordaro DMCW!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/BQuvLOW_cWc

Day 5 / Nov 25 – 5th Day DAPL / IUB Fast, Vigil and Occupation report!searchin/national-cw-e-mail-list/reznicek%7Csort:date/national-cw-e-mail-list/sdqGoQDj5YQ/7wiRzWwrAgAJ

Day 4 / Nov 24, 2016 4th Day Fast / MissStand Water Protectors protest at IA Gov’s home Thanksgiving Day – interview with Jess Reznicek!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/l2OD5QEj2Sc
“Fasting at the IUB to stop the DAPL” a 7 min video interview of Jessica Reznicek by DM vediographer Roger Routh, Thanksgiving Day, the 4th day of her open ended fast, vigil and occupation of the Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines

Day 2 / Nov 22, 2016 Day 2 – “Shut Down DAPL” 24/7 ‘out doors’ Fast, Vigil and Occupation at the IA Utilities Board DM Office!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/6sKrEK-9SL0

Day 1 / Nov 21, 2016 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mississippi Stand Water Protectors start Open Ended Fast in front of Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, Iowa!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/D3jk8QuoLUg

Nov 21, 2016 DMCWers Jessica Reznicek & Julie Brown begin a 24/7 outdoor fast, vigil and occupation of the sidewalk in front of the IA Utilities Board office in DM to protest DAPL!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/3vMvdXQG4dQ

More Media Coverage …

Dec 1
*”Facing arrest, pipeline protesters stick to principles” by Rekha Basu, DM Reg, December 1, 2016!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/-hLYXVJ6iuw
Nov 30 –
*14 min video of Jessica Reznicek’s arrest inside of the Iowa Utilities Board after ten days of fasting outside to stop the Dakota
Access Pipeline.

*Pipeline protesters arrested at IUB offices “Water protector” dragged away in handcuffs” by Amanda Krenz, We are Iowa, Nov 30, 2016
*Protesters increase efforts as pipeline nears completion,” KCCI Channel 8 Nov 30, 2016
* “Protesters Seeking Action from Iowa Utilities Board on Dakota Access Pipeline,” TV 13 WHO, Nov 30, 2016
Protesters Seeking Action from Iowa Utilities Board on Dakota Access Pipeline
Nov 24 –
*Dakota Access pipeline protestors start open-ended fast before Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, NIT, Nov 24, 2016
*Dakota Access pipeline protestors start open-ended fast before Iowa Utilities Board Office in Des Moines, NIT, Nov 24, 2016
Nov 21
*”Anti-Pipeline Protesters Fast Outside IUB Building” by Sarah Beckman, (2min) TV5 News DM
* “Some Bakken oil pipeline protesters going on hunger strike” ABC News Cedar Rapids IA–402371666.html

A Letter to Social Justice Advocates: Thirteen Lessons Learned by Katrina Social Justice Advocates Looking Back Ten Years Later


The Significance of Race: Legislative Racial Discrimination in Louisiana 1803-1865

This article provides a survey of racially discriminatory legislation in Louisiana from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through the end of the Civil War in 1865.3 It reveals but a portion of the state history of official racial discrimination in that period. Court decisions, acts of local government, societal custom and culture must also be viewed to create a more complete picture.4
The historical period covered in this article reflects several phases of the development of Louisiana law. The first is the territorial period from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through 1812, when Louisiana became a state. During this time, the legislative acts are those of the territorial legislature. The second is the period from statehood in 1812 through the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. The period from reconstruction to the 1970s will be addressed in a subsequent article.
As a result of the laws surveyed here, tens of thousands of people were held in slavery with the full support of the legislature *147 and its statutes. Free blacks were relegated to second class citizenship and kept few in number by other legislative acts.
While this review of legislative acts illustrates only a portion of the total picture of racial discrimination to which citizens of color were subjected, it does show the solemn legislative will determined to keep Louisiana’s citizens of color, free and unfree, as powerless and enslaved as possible.racial-discrimination-louisiana-1803-1865

Know Your Rights: Immigrants Affected by Federally Declared Disasters

NOWCRJ KYR Immigration and disaster relief (2)

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Complaint Affidavit

Affidavit Andrea Burton 8-18-16

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Action Challenging the Judge who Jailed her for wearing a Black Lives Matter pin

USDC Complaint 8-18-16

Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening


By Bill Quigley.  Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.

Summary.  Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago.  Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015.  Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community.  Child poverty is up, double the national average.   The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country.  The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening.   Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help.   Here are the numbers.

35           The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority reported that 62 percent of pre-Katrina service has been restored.  But Ride New Orleans, a transit rider organization, says streetcar rides targeted at tourists are fully restored but bus service for regular people is way down, still only at 35 percent of what it was before Katrina.   That may explain why there has been a big dip in the number of people using public transportation in New Orleans, down from 13 percent in 2000 to 9 percent now.

44           Over two of every five children in New Orleans lives in poverty about double the national rate.   The current rate of 44 percent is up 3 percentage points from 1999 and up 12 points from 2007.   Overall, there are 50,000 fewer children under the age of 18 living in New Orleans than there were in 2000.  In 2000 there were 129,408 and the latest numbers have dropped to 79,432 according to the Census figures reported by The Data Center.

50           Since Hurricane Katrina, home values have risen 54 percent and rent is up 50 percent. The annual household income needed to afford rent in New Orleans is $38,000, but 71 percent of workers earn on average $35,000. The average yearly income for service workers is $23,000 and only $10,000 for musicians. New Orleans has only 47 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income residents. Thirty-seven percent of households in the city are paying half of their income for housing, which is much higher than recommended.   36 percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, up from 24 percent in 2004.   The New Orleans metro area ranks second in the top ten worst metro areas for cash strapped renters, according to the Make Room Initiative.   Government leaders bulldozed over 3000 apartments of occupied public housing right after Katrina but now say there is a critical immediate need for at least 5000 affordable low income apartments.

93           Ninety three percent of New Orleans’ 48,000 public school students are in charter schools, the highest percentage in the US.   Before Katrina, there were over 65,000 students enrolled in New Orleans public schools, less than 1 percent in charter schools.  There are now 44 governing bodies for public schools in New Orleans.   There are seven types of charter schools in Louisiana.  The public schools are 87 percent African American.  Widespread charter school problems for students with disabilities are getting a little bit better according to a federal court monitor report.   The public has very mixed feelings about the system reflected in the most recent poll which shows 43 percent of whites think the schools are getting better compared to 31 percent of African Americans, while 23 percent of African-Americans thought schools were getting worse, in contrast to 15 percent of whites.

2,000     Black median income in New Orleans rose from $23,000 in 2005 to $25,000 eight years later while white median income rose by $11,000 from $49,000 to $60,000 during the same time.

6,811     White population of New Orleans is down from 128,871 in 2000 to 122,060 in 2015 according to The Data Center.

7,023     Hispanic population in New Orleans grew from 14,826 in 2000 to 21,849 in 2015.   There has been significant growth in the Hispanic population in metro New Orleans area from 58,545 in 2000 to 109,553 in 2015 mostly in Jefferson Parish.

64,000   Over 64,000 working women in New Orleans earn less than $17,500 per year.   One source of good jobs, working for the school board, was eliminated when 7500 employees were terminated right after Katrina.

95,057   The population of the City of New Orleans is 95,057 less in 2015 when it was 389,617 compared to 2000 when it was 484,674, according to the Data Center.

95,625   There are 95,625 fewer African Americans living in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) now than in the 2000 Census, according to Census figures reported by The Data Center.   The percentage of New Orleans that is African American has dropped from 66 percent to 58 percent.  Overall African American population in New Orleans dropped from 323,000 in 2000 to 227,000 in 2015.   Black residents of New Orleans continue to be unfairly and disproportionately stopped and searched by police and also more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than other residents.  That situation is even worse for other New Orleans metro residents as Gretna Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River, was recently cited as the arrest capital of the entire nation.

2,800,000             The US Department of Justice reported Louisiana has 2.8 million people in its criminal database.  There are 4.6 million people in Louisiana.

Last        Louisiana continues to rank dead last in poverty, racial disparities and exclusion of immigrants.  But New Orleans has plenty of wealthy people, in fact Bloomberg ranked New Orleans the worst in the entire country in income inequality.   Louisiana also ranks last in national rankings of the quality and safety of school systems.  Louisiana incarcerates more of its citizens than any of the other 50 states at a rate double the national average.  And Louisiana has the highest healthcare costs because of high rates of premature deaths, diabetes, and obesity.  In a welcome but too rare piece of good health news, Louisiana’s new Governor expanded Medicaid coverage and enrolled 250,000 additional people in the health care program in July 2016.

76 Billion dollars came to Louisiana because of Katrina.  This information makes it clear who did NOT get the money.


Special thanks to The Data Center a terrific source of information showing how the community is doing.