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Public Testimony: Amplified Noise Amendment Act of 2018

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

The National Black United Front Official Testimony to the Washington DC City Council Public Hearing on Amplified Noise Amendment Act of 2018 Bill 22-839

Monday, July 2, 2018, 2:00 p.m., Hearing Room 412, John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20004

After the Emancipation Proclamation was passed, in 1865 many municipalities enacted laws known as the “Slave/Black Codes.” Some of the codes were:

  • People of African heritage could not peacefully assembly without a white person present.

  • People of African heritage could not preach the gospel of their faith without a white person’s permission.

  • People of African heritage could not juggle without the permission of a white person.

If a person of African heritage was found guilty of any of the above actions she or he could be incarcerated for ten days and or fined. If said person is not able to pay the fine she or he could be hired out by the sheriff or any other officer.

In 1968 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operating under its Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO, released a memo stating how it needed to prevent the rise of a Black Messiah. It also stated that a final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed.

Finally we saw in the case Dred Scott v. Sandford, commonly known as the Dred Scott Decision,  Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled in the highest court in the land that a person of African heritage has no rights that a white person is bound to respect.  We cite these historical references to give context to the position that the National Black United Front has on Bill 22-839.

The position of the members and supporters of the National Black United is that the Amplified Noise Amendment Act of 2018 Bill 22-839 is excessive in punishment, reminiscent of the Slave/Black codes of the late 19th century, and it will compromise the entrepreneurial spirit of many young African Americans.  NBUF maintains that in a city where employment, access to business loans, and housing depend heavily on criminal background screenings, this bill as introduced could potentially prohibit many African Americans, Latin Americans and other vulnerable communities from a respectable quality of life.  By possibly compromising someone’s chances at a quality of life, it reduces said persons ability to become an effective leader in the community. Thus caring out the objectives of the counterintelligence program and preventing the rise of a Black messiah that could unify and electrify the masses.

This bill is a by product of the continued effort to push Black and Latino people out of their communities in order to make life seemingly more comfortable for white millennials. Once again showing now respect for the rights of Black and Latino people.

Many young sisters and brothers choose to perform in open areas as a way of making an honest living. It additionally provides the larger community of the District of Columbia an enhanced artistic experience. To prevent these young sisters and brothers from performing would rob the city of the very culture that has helped it to grow into an internationally recognized metropolis.

Furthermore, as introduced, the bill calls for sound not to exceed 80 decibels. NBUF questions a police officers ability to determine when an amplified sound has reached 80 decibels.  Will officers carry a device that can gauge said amplified sound? This is a critical, yet unanswered question as to why the provisions of this bill are unfair and unjust.

When the City Council of the District of Columbia reconvenes this fall, the National Black United Front calls on city council to remove from the bill ten days of confinement, confiscation of property and to reduce the fine to $25. As introduced this bill is not adequate in providing the residents of the District of Columbia with a fair and adequate legislation.

Thank you for your time, Central Committee National Black United Front

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