The ACLU of Utah Activist
By Jamil Dakwar, Director, national ACLU Human Rights Program - Today's celebrations of international Human Rights Day coincide with the commemoration of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela – the freedom fighter, political prisoner, African National Congress leader, and first president of post-apartheid South Africa. More than 90 world leaders, including Barack Obama attended Mandela's memorial service today, where the president gave a passionate eulogy, telling tens of thousands that Mandela "speaks to what's best inside us." Read more >>
This morning, the national ACLU released Alone and Afraid: Children Held in Solitary Confinement and Isolation in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities.
This national ACLU log post examines continued censorship of books in the U.S. and mentions the recent ACLU of Utah case, Weber v. Davis School District.
The ACLU of Utah has a strong commitment to fighting for racial justice and has pursued several important cases in the past year to challenge racial inequity in our community. One case that the ACLU of Utah staff has been hard at work on is Winston vs. Salt Lake Police Department for which we filed a class-action lawsuit against school and police officials over a ‘gang sweep’ in which students of color were detained, interrogated and falsely accused of participating in gang activity. The ACLU of Utah views this case as one important challenge to the larger disturbing trend of schools using discipline policies that push children out of school and into the criminal justice system. This trend is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Increasingly, police have a greater presence in schools and as a result young people are being criminalized for offenses like minor classroom misbehavior. The greater police presence is not making our schools safer when children are encountering the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses. In the Winston case, between 14 and 40 West High School students of color were detained, interrogated, searched and forced to be photographed holding signs identifying them as gang members. Their personal information…
Now is the time to speak out to ensure contraception coverage for millions of American women. Urge the Obama administration to stand firm and not yield to those seeking to undo a major victory for women's health. In a breakthrough for women's health, the Obama administration has ensured that millions of women have access to affordable, effective contraception. But anti-family planning forces are waging an all-out campaign to prevent women from getting affordable access to this basic health care. They are claiming that your boss should be able to control your health care decisions. We can't let them succeed. That's why we're hoping you will immediately write to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and urge it to stand by its decision – contraception is basic health care and must be available in health insurance plans. The deadline for public comment on the current plan is right around the corner. HHS needs to hear from you and all Americans who support women’s fundamental right to contraception. We must fight back and ensure our voices are heard. We know that contraception is a game changer for women. Contraception helps women protect their health and plan their families. It allows women…
Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers, times, and locations. At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen cars, etc.). But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.
Utah: Only State in Nation to Enforce English-Only Policy in Prisons? Thanks to the ACLU of Utah, Not Anymore
Utah, formerly the only state to enforce English-only policies in prisons for inmates and their visitors, no longer stands out as a bastion of bad policy. We are thrilled to report to our members and supporters that Rollin Cook, Executive Director of Utah State Corrections, withdrew the decades-old English-only policy after we informed him that the policy violated prisoners’ Constitutional rights, and that the policy was outdated and poorly tailored to guarantee the safety of inmates, their visitors, and staff.
Imagine being fired for no other reason than simply being who you are. Right now in a majority of states, including Utah, you can be fired solely for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Tell your senator to end workplace discrimination. Next Wednesday, July 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would level the playing field for LGBT workers and ensure that all Americans have the ability to work free from discrimination. Your senator, Senator Orrin Hatch, is a key vote on the HELP Committee and needs to hear from you to move this important legislation to the full floor of the Senate. Contact Senator Hatch today and urge him to vote YES to pass ENDA out of committee. No one should have to fear being fired simply because of who they are. Thank you for taking action to ensure a free and fair workplace for all Americans. ACLU of Utah
While we celebrate the Court’s decision to strike down the federal recognition section of DOMA, individual states still have anti-gay, anti-marriage laws. In fact these discriminatory barriers are now embedded in 30 state constitutions. Find out about the new national ACLU campaign to fight for full marriage equality across the country. Read more >>
We are all eagerly awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Action (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, which could happen as soon as tomorrow! Regardless of when these decisions are announced, those of us who believe in equality for all people are standing firmly together in anticipation. The ACLU of Utah is proud to stand with our community partners, LGBTQ friends and equality advocates at this monumental moment!
Wouldn't you be furious if the government's plan to screen certain immigrants out of the workforce ended up costing you your job instead? That's exactly what could happen if a massive error-prone bureaucracy called E-Verify is included in the federal immigration reform package your senator is considering right now.
On Tuesday morning, the Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the killing program in which an estimated 4,700 people across two continents have been killed, including four American citizens. This vast killing program is unlawful, dangerous, and unwise. Amazingly, the Obama administration continues to hide its legal memos on when it believes any president can order the Pentagon and the CIA to kill people far from any battlefield.
With the legislative session winding down, things are picking up on the Capitol Hill. This change of pace was tangible last week, as bills started to move through the process much more quickly. This week we look at: SB 196, License Plate Reader Amendments; H.B. 44, Election Polling; S.B. 225, Immigration Trigger Dates