Share this with your friends
Here at Ladybud, we’ve covered the Rainbow Family of Living Light in the past, mostly because of the hysterical response of Utah government employees about a previous Rainbow Gathering in their state. Overall, we support the mission of this non-organization that wants to spread love and an appreciation for the natural world.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Rainbow Family, it is a loosely organized group without any official representatives of leaders. They have annual Gatherings, usually in wooded areas on public land, which are open to anyone who wants to get away from civilization and enjoy wild spaces without a judgmental culture. The whole focus is on love, peace and environmental protections.
Every year, the people who attend the annual Gathering face discrimination from locals and even harassment by law enforcement. At this most recent Gathering, which took place from July 1-7 in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia, some attendees ended up arrested for minor offenses.
Local law enforcement did everything in their power to harass Gathering attendees and shut the event down. According to some reports, there were over 900 citations and arrests as a direct result of this year’s Gathering. When you consider that attendance was estimated between 3,500 and 4,00 people, that number of arrests seems ludicrous for a non-violent Gathering.
Attendees report a host of legally questionable activities, such as the U.S. Forest Service felling trees and closing roads to prevent access to public lands. Many people were also subject to searches and other violations of their civil rights.
One person facing such harassment and mistreatment is a Gathering attendee called Mr. Tobias. He spent 44 days in jail over allegations of possession of paraphernalia. You read that right. A young man spent more than a month in jail, before a trial, just because he allegedly had a pipe in his possession.
Members of the Rainbow Family and their supporters have already raised the money needed to get Mr. Tobias (and another young man arrested due to the Gathering) out of jail. However, there are additional costs to consider, as many people still need to be bonded out of jail.
Spartacus Legal Foundation is offering pro bono legal support to those arrested and cited as part of this year’s Gathering, but they still need help raising capital to secure the release of the people arrested. Please consider donating to support the legal defense of these non-violent citizens facing criminal charges over attending an outdoor festival.
You can donate to the legal defense fund for those arrested at the Gathering here. You can also share this story on social media to help raise awareness.
For previous Ladybud articles about discrimination, click here.
Photo Credit: Featured photo: Michael Rogers under CC BY-SA 3.0, Inlaid image: Public image via Facebook