By Austin B. Hahn
Since 1920, the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, has been working “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country” (“The ACLU”). Such individual rights that the ACLU continues to fight for include, but are not limited to: “speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, [and] citizens’ rights to privacy” (”SOME HIGHLIGHTS”). The ACLU has also has taken up various civil liberties cases pertaining to the rights of the LGBT community, putting an end to mass incarceration, and sustaining the right to vote (”The ACLU”). Over the course of several months, I received correspondence in the mail from them asking about my opinion on issues concerning social justice. After researching their causes, I decided to donate to the organization. I was impressed by their dedication to human rights. According to their fact sheet, Protecting Individual Rights for over 90 years, here are some of the ACLU’s highlights:
1920: Palmer Raids – The ACLU championed the targets of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, including politically radical immigrants. We also supported the right of trade unionists to organize and secure the release of hundreds of activists imprisoned for anti-war activities.
1942: Fighting the Internment of Japanese Americans – The ACLU stood almost alone in denouncing the federal government’s internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps.
1954: Brown v. Board of Education – The ACLU, having joined the NAACP in the legal battle for equal education, celebrated a major victory when the Supreme Court declared that racially segregated schools were in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
1973: Reproductive Rights – After decades of struggle, the Supreme Court held – in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton – that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman’s right to decide whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy.
2001-Today: Keeping America Safe and Free – Since 9/11, the ACLU has been working vigorously to oppose policies that sacrifice our fundamental freedoms in the name of national security. From working to fix the Patriot Act to contesting warrantless spying, we continue to challenge the government’s expanded power to invade privacy, imprison people without due process and punish dissent.
2012: Reproductive Rights – ACLU lawyers, activists and members stand strong against the assault on women’s reproductive rights. In Congress and in the states, we are fighting an unprecedented number of new laws that aim to restrict or end access to contraception and abortion.
If you’re interested in the ACLU, you can go to https://www.aclu.org/ and sign up at the bottom of their web page to get the latest news. For those of you who would like to make a donation, you can do so by going to https://action.aclu.org/secure/join-aclu-or-renew-your-membership-today.
American Civil Liberties Union. Protecting Individual Rights for over 90 years. n.p. n.d. Print.
American Civil Liberties Union. “SOME HIGHLIGHTS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO HOW WE DO IT.” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.
American Civil Liberties Union. “The ACLU TODAY.” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.