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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

The Director’s Chair (From Brittney Nystrom, Executive Director)

19 October 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

BrittneyNystrom 290With the start of our 60th year just around the corner, we here at the ACLU of Utah are simultaneously charging ahead in our quest for justice for all Utahns and reflecting on what has been a remarkable and unusual year.   

In our office, the workload continues to expand as fierce attacks on constitutional rights and civil liberties continue unabated.  Our staff are adept jugglers, resulting in a staggering workload of active litigation, public and behind-the-scenes advocacy, and flourishing community partnerships.  

As you know, in addition to litigation and advocacy the ACLU of Utah pursues here in our state, we also team up with the National ACLU and other ACLU affiliates on nationwide initiatives.  Since the first day of the Trump Administration, the ACLU has launched 87 (and counting!) legal actions in defense of the Constitution and civil liberties.  These include well-known lawsuits like the numerous challenges to Pres. Trump’s Muslim Ban, as well as quieter Freedom of Information Act requests seeking transparency and accountability from government officials.  Although challenging a President’s actions is not new to the ACLU, this pace is unprecedented.

More Utahns are currently ACLU Members than ever before (nearly 8,000!), and your membership dues are being put to fantastic use.  We are honored to have your confidence and support.

Fortunately, our staff is also growing!  We enthusiastically welcomed Maria del Mar Gonzalez, our first Community Outreach Fellow in July.  I’m hoping many of you have already enjoyed interacting with her at a Pride Festival, film screening, or community meeting. Soon, we will be adding another new staff position to focus on achieving smart criminal justice reforms in Utah.   

These “hellos”, sadly, are mixed with two significant “goodbyes.”  We are bidding a very fond farewell to Board President Michael Weinholtz when his term ends in December, and to Strategic Communications Manager Anna Thomas in late October.

Thank you for standing with us in these uncertain and, frankly, scary times. With your help, we are poised to enter our 60th year of defending the civil rights and liberties of everyone in the Beehive State as a bigger and stronger ACLU of Utah.

This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Fall Newsletter >>