Friday May 1st, Words that Glimmer, Words that Break will make its debut at the Alameda County Law Library. We will be having an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. Here are directions to library, at 125 12th Street, in Oakland. An addition parking option can be found at the Oakland Museum of California on Oak Street.
The art in this exhibit seeks to explore this by examining fissures between language and values expressed in our legal system and those voiced in our communities. You have the right to remain silent. Do you have the right to remain human?
June 15th marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. This document was written to broker peace between King John of England and powerful barons rebelling against him. For members of England’s nobility, known as freemen, it called for a number of restrictions to the king’s power– among them, the right to a fair and timely trial as overseen by ones peers.
Magna Carta was subject to many revisions over the coming decades. In the 17th century, its wording was drawn upon to found the writ of habeus corpus and the Petition of Right, which guarantees due process under the law. In 1776, the founding fathers of the United States used these principles to craft a constitution that extended personal liberties to a broader range of citizens. The conviction that these ideals should apply to all people, regardless of race or gender, developed only in the last century.
Thus has law slowly shifted, since the Magna Carta of 1215, from serving the top of a pyramid to serving an ever more encompassing circle of those who live under it.
Yet work remains to be done. The barons of the 13th century sought to protect their lives, estates, and inheritances. The founding fathers sought to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So far, our legal system has not been charged with the protection of our humanity, integrity, and relationship to each other.