Population (2000 Census): 19,196
Date Passed: 11/19/03
Resolution to Protect the Bill of Rights
Approved by: Wilkinsburg Borough Council
Whereas, the Borough of Wilkinsburg has never hesitated to send our young men and women into military service to secure our country and defend our freedoms and liberties;
Whereas, the Borough of Wilkinsburg is a diverse community, including non-citizens who make a vital contribution to the commerce, character and restoration of our neighborhoods and business district. Wilkinsburg is known as a religious center throughout Allegheny County home to spiritual expression from around the world.
Whereas, Wilkinsburg elected officials are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights;
Whereas, several acts and orders recently enacted at the Federal level, including sections of the USA Patriot Act and other executive orders, now threaten the Bill of Rights and liberties including freedom of speech, assembly, religion and privacy; the right to (legal) counsel and due process in judicial proceedings and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures;
Whereas, as of November 17, 2003, 215 communities and states representing 26.9 million US residents including the Pennsylvania city of Philadelphia and the communities of Lansdowne, Reading and York have taken action to protect the civil rights and liberties of their residents called into question by the Patriot Act and several orders by US Attorney General Ashcroft;
Whereas, former Vice President Gore, in a November 9, 2003 speech, raised an alarm regarding the erosion of our most precious freedoms. The former vice president further pointed out that since the heinous terrorist attacks on our country, “the administration is still not investing in local government training and infrastructures where they make the difference. The first responder community (local police, fire and EMS) is still being shortchanged.”
Be It Further Resolved, that Wilkinsburg Council calls upon Congressman Doyle and US Senators Santorum and Specter to rescind the USA Patriot Act and associated Attorney General orders and fully fund local safety forces to meet their responsibilities as ‘first responders’ to protect local communities;
Therefore, the Council of the Borough of Wilkinsburg urges Congressman Mike Doyle to join in sponsorship of HR 1157, which protects library patrons’ rights to read and research from law enforcement intrusion;
Be It Further Resolved, that County, State and Federal law enforcement officials acting within Wilkinsburg work in accordance with the policies of the Wilkinsburg Police Department and in cooperation with the Department by not engaging in or permitting detentions without charges, guarantees the right to legal counsel and resists racial profiling.
Community Group / Coalition: Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign