The NAACP thought it had a good idea: they wanted to put up an ad in Philadelphia’s International Airport that highlighted America’s prison epidemic. But the city shot down the proposal, claiming that it doesn’t promote “issue” or “advocacy” advertisements as its airport. Now the NAACP is taking the city of Brotherly Love to court.
“The walls of Philadelphia International Airport are public space, and city officials do not have the right to suppress any group’s viewpoint based on their own beliefs or political considerations,” NAACP General Counsel Kim Keenan said in a statement. “Our First Amendment right to free speech is just as strong as that of the U.S.O., the World Wildlife Federation or any other advocacy group that has graced the walls of the airport,” Keenan said, referring to ads from other organizations that the city accepted.
To be sure, the ad wasn’t exactly painting Philly in the best light. The proposed billboard read, “Welcome to America, home to 5% of the world’s people & 25% of the world’s prisoners. Let’s build a better America together.”