The Public’s Truth is a forum for communities to share real stories of how the “war on terrorism” and national security have adversely affected the lives of immigrants, refugees, and communities of color and to raise awareness of the scope and scale of attack upon civil liberties and human rights. On May 10, 2003, community members and interfaith leaders joined together with the Applied Research Center and the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, California to bear witness to personal accounts of Bay Area residents’ experiences of new Homeland Security policies and practices, which have created a mounting civil liberties and human rights crisis not only in the Bay Area, but throughout the country.
The Public’s Truth on May 10 was the first of a series of gatherings that will be held across the nation to address this racial backlash and to establish a new public record of violations against civil liberties and human rights and link these stories to the stories and experiences of Japanese American internment during World War II.
Given the increased harassment, mass arrests, and deportations of immigrants—from Cambodia, Pakistan, Somalia, and other targeted nations—the idea of asking community members to publicly testify about civil rights violations has become increasingly problematic. Building upon the model of the Hate Free Zone-Campaign of Washington, the Public’s Truth forum enables affected in-dividuals to either present their stories in person or anonymously, through a designated community spokesperson, a member of their religious community, a civil rights leader, a union leader, a legal advocate, a com-munity organizer, or an elected official.
This document highlights samples of community testimony from the May 10 hearing and offers suggestions of ways communities can take action. A timeline of how the “War on Terrorism” has impacted communities is included.
The Public's Truth: Stories of Racial Profiling and the Attack on Civil Liberties Full Report. Download this report in PDF format.