Toledo passed a “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” to protect its water. The state is trying to stop it.

"A sign warns bathers about algae infestation at Maumee Bay State Park August 4, 2014 in Oregon, Ohio. Toledo, Ohio area residents were once again able to drink tap water after a two day ban due to algae related toxins." (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

"Like movements of the past, which focused on expanding rights, the people of Toledo are seeing their efforts met by a ready opposition. The Ohio legislature recently passed a budget bill that strips away the authority of community members to defend the rights of nature in court. And this spring, the state of Ohio also joined an industry lawsuit seeking to overturn the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. The litigation is ongoing.

Unfortunately, state-sponsored efforts to block the fight for more legal rights are all too common. 

The history of the Civil Rights movement is rife with examples. This includes going after one of the most effective tools of civil rights activists: the boycott. By refusing to patronize segregated businesses, African Americans were able to demonstrate their economic necessity to communities, leading to many shops and lunch counters opening their doors to black customers. This includes the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted 381 days when a federal court ordered the buses desegregated.

The full weight of the law was brought against Civil Rights activists, with injunctions and laws banning boycotts. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists faced jail and intimidation based on such tactics."

- Mari Margil and Ryan Dickinson, In These Times 

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