Media Contact

Casira Copes
Communications Director


June 17, 2024

Wilmington, DE — Today, the ACLU of Delaware sent a letter to members of the Wilmington City Council urging them to reject an ordinance that would make it more difficult for residents to express their constitutionally protected rights to free speech and assembly. Ordinance #24-036 would prohibit protest outside of private residences, under the guise of regulating noise. However, it would largely be enforced to ensure people could not assemble and protest outside of the homes of officials who reside in the city. 

“Free speech is the bedrock of our democracy, and it is vital for people to be able to express their views to officials,” said Javonne Rich, policy & advocacy director for the ACLU of Delaware. “Even speech which makes some people uncomfortable or could be viewed as annoying must be protected.” 

Rich continued, “Many groups prefer to bring their message directly to officials, so the ability to protest outside of their homes is crucial to effectively exercising their right to political speech. It may be difficult for officials or their neighbors who do not wish to have people gathering outside their homes, but this is precisely what democracy looks like.”  

The ordinance was passed by the Public Safety Committee and will be up for a vote of the full City Council on Thursday, June 20, 2024. 

“City Council should reject this effort to silence the voices of residents. Protest is one of our democracy’s main tools to hold people and institutions accountable and helps to shed light on injustice. We should be fostering a culture of respectful, but widespread dissent, not quelching peoples’ ability to speak out,” concluded Rich.