Free the Nipple 2015, Hampton Beach, NH
After making international headlines and despite a major facebook mistake and bad weather, approximately two-dozen ladies persevered and came out to Hampton Beach today to stand against the social stigma associated with women being topless in public.
Free State Project early mover Jessica Wardell traveled all the way from Henniker to join the topless ladies and their male supporters today and had this to say about the event, “It was lots of fun, there were about 20-30 girls participating, and I didn’t receive any negative criticism. Mostly people were curious about what was going on, and everyone that I talked to seemed to support the idea- especially when I brought up breast feeding.”
The event has already received coverage from the Daily Mail, which focused on the dozens of topless equality events taking place internationally, Reuters, Boston.com, NECN, as well as in Manchester’s Union Leader. Seacoast newspaper “Fosters” was dismissive of the event in their article, calling it “a bust” (yuk, yuk) and claiming only a dozen women came out. How many actually attended? Wardell claims 20-30 ladies in her estimate, with 40-50 additional supporters, including topless males. While more than 1,300 had claimed they were attending on the facebook event, facebook event attendance estimates are almost never close to the actual turnout. Many will indicate they are attending on facebook simply to show support for the event.
What day at the beach would be complete without sand boobies?
The ladies who set up the Hampton event, Kia Sinclair and Heidi Lilley, deserve a lot of credit for doing a great job promoting it and fielding media interviews in advance. Sadly, a major mistake was made early this morning when someone canceled the facebook event! The night prior, one of the admins posted a warning that they were going to cancel the facebook event this morning, but told people that did not mean the event was actually canceled. (Apparently, the FB event was canceled due to heavy trolling of the comments, however this could have been solved by only allowing admins to post.) Of course, only a fraction of the event attendees saw that post, so when the event was cancelled, EVERYONE on the event received a notice this morning from facebook saying the event was canceled with no explanation. This, in addition to the cold, rainy weather was likely a major contributing factor to the turnout. Two dozen topless ladies in bad weather actually seems really good, all things considered!
Organizer Kia Sinclair agreed, saying in a Free Keene-exclusive interview, “I am really happy about the turnout despite the weather. There were actually quite a few topless women around the beach at different times throughout the day. Because of the rain, a lot of women took shelter at the seashell stage. I will say that it was slightly intimidating being stared at and photographed by so many people. Its actually silly that just us being topless made so many people want to take pictures. If the weather was better I don’t think it would have been quite like that. But either way there were a lot of supporters despite the rain.”
Free State Project Early Mover Jessica Wardell, Graham Colson, and FSP Early Mover Matt Genack
Of course, all the mainstream media articles have been showing censored photos, or the ladies shot from behind, because the media are part of the problem. The social stigma against showing women topless runs deep, and mainstream media certainly won’t cross that taboo. Free Keene is not beholden to those rules. Share this article on social media at your own risk – you may get reported and banned for doing so. UPDATE: Facebook has targeted this article for censorship, so if you want to share it there, goto this link and hit “share” on it. That will share a version with a censored pic that uses Graham’s breasts to cover Jessica’s.
Congratulations and thank you to the ladies who went out today despite the weather. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on topless equality. You can also join the “Free the Nipple” group for NH on facebook here.
Expected next is an as-yet-unscheduled civil disobedience event in Laconia where the city has illegally outlawed female toplessness.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Ashley Stoddard, Miranda Stoddard, Andrew Wardell
No Longer Illegal in NH
In a 42-page decision, the US District Court for New Hampshire has ruled in favor of protestors including Free State Project early mover and attorney Brandon Ross who violated the state’s “ballot selfie” prohibition and were investigated and threatened by the Attorney General’s office. In 2014, Ross had taken a picture of his ballot and posted it to his facebook accompanied by the words “come at me bro”. They did, and now Ross and his co-plaintiffs state representative Leon Rideout, and Andrew Langlois are victorious in their case thanks to the NH ACLU, as the law has been overturned as unconstitutional!
The defendant in the case, representing the state, was secretary of state Bill Gardener who argued that free speech (photos of ballots) should be curtailed because voters will be either induced to sell their votes or subjected to coercion if they are permitted to disclose images of their ballots to others. Judge Paul Barbadoro denied there was any evidence those speculative objections would be the case, and even if there were evidence, that’s not reason enough to restrict free speech.
State Rep Tim Horrigan, Snitch
The case reveals on page 18, that it was Timothy Horrigan, an anti-freedom state rep (rated as a “Constitutional Threat” in 2015 by the NH Liberty Alliance) that both introduced the bill banning ballot selfies AND snitched to the Attorney General’s office about Ross’ facebook post. Ross, in an exclusive interview for Free Keene said Horrigan’s behavior, “shows that lawmakers will absolutely use their laws they’ve just made to try to censor people”.
Ross also said he was surprised the state actually moved against him, saying, “I gave them too much credit, thinking they would never try to enforce that clearly unconstitutional law. Joke’s on me. But, a little healthy defiance can be a good thing now and again too.”
JP, Rich, and Jessica
JP from Cop Block and Jessica, a Free State Project early mover were married this afternoon in the most recent activist wedding in the Monadnock region.
Church of the Invisible Hand minister Rich Paul donned his pastoral garb and performed the wedding ceremony in front of many attendees on the porch of the Shire Free Church‘s Monadnock Parish House, the Keene Activist Center.
Here’s video of the ceremony with some pictures at the end:
Congratulations to the two newlyweds!
Buzz, of Buzz’s Big Gay Dance Party, beaming at the final party. _Photo Courtesy VICE
In at least their fourth story in the last few years related to the Free State Project, the excellent VICE.com has focused in on the amazing Buzz’s Big Gay Dance Party which had its final of six years this year at the Porcupine Freedom Festival. Porcfest will continue, perhaps with a new epic party – only time will tell.
For now, enjoy Michelle Lhooq’s report on Buzz’s final awesome bash and the photos (then come to Hallowkeene at Keenevention 2015!)
For additional perspective on being gay at Porcfest, visit Joe Jarvis’ blog of his experience at this year’s week-long camping festival populated by mostly libertarians and voluntarists. If you love liberty, regardless of sexual orientation, you’ll probably really enjoy Porcfest.
Here’s the excellent story about the BGDP from VICE.
On June 3rd, 2015 as a board member for the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, I organized a Brew and Sedition event at Able Ebenezer in Merrimack NH. Able Ebenezer is a popular fairly new micro brewery in Merrimack NH. Able Ebenezer was chosen for the event because of it’s name. Able Ebenezer’s name is branded from the inspirational actions of local New Hampshire citizens who rallied behind Ebenezer Mudgett in 1772 to defy British oppression. History remembers this event as the Pine Tree Riot in which Able resisted the state’s assertion that they owned his trees. The purpose of this event was to promote Independence by getting supporters together for drinks and for networking purposes. Chandler Gabel also gave a speech on the need to network with others in the state that also support Independence. There were over two dozen supporters that came out to this event. This may seem on the light side but where else in the United States are people getting together for the purpose of declaring Independence from the Union? Future meetings and planned events for Independence Day were discussed. For more information on New Hampshire Independence, check out nhindependence.org
Dover Jury Outreach Crew
Randy Clemens is a new mover to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. Prior to moving here, he’d never heard of Jury Nullification. Now he’s an active part of the new outreach project happening at Strafford superior court in Dover, NH. Randy is also known as “The Sriracha Guy”. Here’s his blog on this week’s successful and first-ever jury outreach in Dover. If you want to join in the fun, please join the New Hampshire Juror Outreach group on facebook.
“It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” —John Jay, first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, State of Georgia v. Brailsford (1794)
You’re out on a leisurely walk in the city one day, simply going about your business and keeping to yourself, when… crap! People handing out informational literature. Uggghh. Don’t they have anything better to do? You’ve clearly spotted them and worse yet, they spotted you spotting them! Good luck escaping their tractor beam now!
You briefly consider reaching for your cell phone to pretend to take a call, but it’s too late. It’s clear that there’s no way to weasel out of accepting their disruptive pamphlet, so you force a polite, acknowledging smile, or construct a curious, inquisitive glance as you take the propaganda from their outstretched hand, feigning interest juuuuuussstt until you’re out of their field of view (probably), at which point you can safely discard whatever it was they were peddling without looking like a terrible, close-minded person.
Sound familiar? Or is that just the process that usually runs through my head when I see someone handing out unsolicited pamphlets? (To be fair, it is usually promotional garbage trying to get us to buy something, or telling us we’re going to some version of hell if we don’t repent for our existence, etc.) Well, even despite my less-than-savory feelings about this method of interpersonal exchange, I was actually on the other side of it for the first time this week, volunteering my time to help spread awareness of an incredible right that we as Americans possess, but simply aren’t informed of: jury nullification of law. (more…)