After watching childhood lemonade stands shuttered across the country, three liberty activists who had never met decided enough was enough and set up their own lemonade stand, right on Capitol Hill lawn, and proclaimed it Lemonade Freedom Day.
Listen to two of the three “lemonistas” explain the future of liberty activism, as they take you through their entire ordeal, including facing up to one year behind bars.
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
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Average Americans Risk Arrest to Battle Abusive Government
By Dave Gahary
All charges against three liberty activists arrested Aug. 20 for setting up and selling cups of lemonade for 10 cents each on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building were dropped on Oct. 25 in a Washington, D.C. superior court. The event—staged by activists who had never met each other—came after a series of much-publicized actions by law enforcement officials across the country cracking down on childhood lemonade stands.
AMERICAN FREE PRESS conducted an exclusive interview on October 19 with two of the three “lemonistas” as some in the media have referred to them. Kathryn Dill and Will Duffield talked about what inspired them and how the events unfolded.
Ms. Dill, a Texas native, explained: “There’s a really strong community of liberty activists online. It’s very easy for us to identify a problem and organize groups in order to solve whatever problem we see going on in whatever area.”
Duffield was not a member of the online liberty forum, but has participated in protests, including dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, which is illegal.
“I saw children having their lemonade stands shut down across the country,” he explained, “and this upset me. I thought it was ridiculous. I saw that some people were organizing lemonade stands across the country, and I saw one on the Capitol lawn, so I went down to join in.”
Ms. Dill added, “We felt that if the police were going to come onto people’s property and shut down their lemonade stands, then we were going to take it to them and set up a lemonade stand right in front of the Capitol.”
After their arrest and interrogation for nearly five hours while handcuffed to a wall, the three activists were given the option of urinating in cups and undergoing drug tests in order to avoid trial. Recognizing these constitutional violations, they refused, which added an additional charge of contempt of court. Additionally, the court granted a “stay away” order that barred them from the U.S. Capitol.
Duffield explained his views. “Even though we haven’t yet been proven guilty of any crime, we’re banned from Capitol Hill, which in my estimation is a violation of my First Amendment right to petition government for [redress of] grievances as I can no longer access the offices of my congressional representatives.”
The original charges—unlawful conduct, failure to obey a police officer and vending without a permit—were all dropped and replaced by the federal charge of illegally selling goods and services. Each facing up to a year in jail, the lemonistas were surprised that the government dropped its case.
They have no plans for future protests, but Duffield commented, “I’m of the opinion that if you don’t stand up for your future and the future of your country and your children, then you might not have one.”
Commenting on how friends had stated that having a record could ruin her future, Ms. Dill explained, “I don’t see how my life would be more ruined than if I didn’t stick up for what I believe in.”
Olga Belinskaya contributed to this article