Securing the Blessings of Liberty: A Quaker’s Response to National Park Service Surveillance

Photo credit: Kevin Gozstola of The Dissenter

Photo credit: Kevin Gozstola of The Dissenter

Editor’s Note: In response to our recent article on National Park Service surveillance of last year’s Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia, one organizer decided to write a letter to Chief Ranger Patrick Suddath. With her permission, we’ve reprinted the letter below in its entirety. – D

Dear Mr. Suddath,

I am a Quaker of Arch St and an organizer of Occupy National Gathering, a proud citizen and mother of 7. I read with great interest the FOIA released documents on your response to Occupy National Gathering’s attempt to peacefully gather and engage in free speech to craft petitions for redress of grievances. Your opposition and frankly, transparent attempt to mislead and deny the rights of dissidents to gathering in the Cradle of Liberty on the 4th of July is unconscionable.

I understand the constrictions of your position in regards to permits. I understand the need for permitted spaces to be left alone, but you know as well as I there were vast amounts of green grass all weekend, your permitted events drew less crowds than Kalamazoo. The complete waste of taxpayer money to send over special agents from Alaska is also very wasteful and was not called for.

You might be interested in reading this article, written by the Clerk of Arch St. Meeting.

The members of Arch St. Peace and Social Concerns took it upon themselves to help ensure these peaceful protesters had access to the blessings of Liberty. You’re welcome.

You are probably curious on how it went so here’s a video with testimony from Mignon Adams, a member of Arch St Quaker Meeting:

Here’s an article that describes the peace and art and vital civic engagement that occurred.

Here is how it was reported on by broadcast news:

Please forward this information to your co-workers and special agents here and afar, so you can better protect the legacy of free speech, peaceful gathering and the right to protest for rights.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Patricia Shore

Elkins Park, PA

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