Free speech advocates across the political spectrum should be concerned about the Anchorage Assembly’s effort to empower its newly formed Equity Committee to combat unwanted speech by members of the public.

As recently reported in the Watchman, the Equity Committee is determined to root out what it deems to be offensive “hate speech” during Assembly meetings.

While admitting that the First Amendment poses some legal difficulties, the hard-left committee members are hell bent on finding ways to harness government resources to publicly condemn and openly humiliate those who would dare to express opinions that run contrary to Anchorage’s leftist elites.

At the heart of this effort is the term “hate speech,” which leftists use as justification to limit the articulation of certain ideas. The problem is that “hate speech” is a nebulous and largely undefined term.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never defined what constitutes hate speech, nor has it ruled that this speech is subject to less constitutional protections. In fact, the high court has done just the opposite. In 2020, it ruled: “[The claim that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend… strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate’.”

The fact that we are justifiably repulsed by certain ideas, does not justify government censorship of free speech. This is the slipperiest of slopes, and the Assembly has no business harnessing taxpayer-funded resources to discourage ambiguously defined speech that may run contrary to the powers that be.

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Anchorage Assembly’s war on free speech is a threat to us all

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I like the last paragraph of this article. I don’t authorize nor did I vote to have tax payers money used to take away my First Ammendment rights. If your so shallow you can’t take what I say, get out of tge seat and let a real person sit in that chair. Wa, wa, wa my butt hurts. Get a grip. Go back to second grade that’s where you start to learn to deal with life. It’s obvious a lot of you name calling liberals never graduated second grade. Your still doing what you want to ban me from saying. What’s the old saying; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s time to Grow up this is adult life. No participation trophy is given in life.. You earn what you get.

    • Separation of Church and State says:

      You have no understanding at all of what the first amendment actually is, banning threats and the use of racial slurs directed at public officials takes away none of your rights. Freedom of Speech does not mean you get to just say what ever you want consequence free, if you make a bomb threat in public and the police arrest you for instance no one has violated your civil rights. Take your own advice go back to second grade and get a grip.

      • Jen says:

        A bomb threat is threatening life and
        property, its crime. Not freedom of speech. Wrong analogy.

      • Jen says:

        Hate speech in the past had a way transforming the plain toward most extraoridinary beautiful creation, under God’s care, in the most harsh envionment.
        Furthermore, bible speaks life and death is in the power of the tongue. We by free-will choose how we use it and the path we take.

      • Steve says:

        Good to see we have liberals reading the Watchman. Maybe some of the Conservative articles and opinions will subconsciously soak in. I recommend taking it slowly so the shock of reality doesn’t confuse you. Let your mind nibble on logical side of these articles and your fog of liberalism will surely dissipate. You’re whole worldly outlook will change and peace of mind will settle in.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Government overstepping its boundaries again! Is this Equity Committee funded by the Municipality of Anchorage? Were the People of Anchorage asked for their input on having an equity committee? I am seeing so many things being tried in the lower 48, including in the White House (equity committee!) and as it is failing in the lower 48, it is starting up in Alaska. Alaskans, we need to put our feet down and tell the government and the globalists that we are not going along with their agenda. We The People need to govern our state and remind the government that they work for us – not us for them. If we don’t stand up to this tyranny, they will be trying to push the social credit scoring on us and the central bank digital currency that will control our lives, what we can buy, how much food, fuel, household heat and electricity we can have. We are in serious danger here people! Stand up and tell the government and the globalists, “NO! We will not comply with your agenda!”

    • Kgak100 says:

      Amen well said the sovereign power is held in the people not some false representatives who wish to strip you of said power under color of law WE SAY NO THANKS WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR IDEA OF UTOPIA

  • Molly says:

    These Petty tyrants (commie assembly “members”) that were voted in by petty voters are doing their dastardly best to destroy our ity, one tuesday at a time. Voters really dont take the time to determine the right candidate they seem to go for the worst person that can do the worst damage to our city. The voters simply do not care what a candidate will do once in office, the voters around anchorage voted in these 9 schmucks, they want petty tyrants to destroy our once great city. Until voters take this seriously and attend even one assembly meeting to see these “members” in action, we will continue to see our city destroyed. Voters simply do not care or these nine would not be where they are now. The marketing and advertising used to get them elected was successful, the idiots believe the lies and vote their “feelings”.

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Anchorage residents get what they deserve. Vote.
    p.s. please don’t come to the Valley.