The ACLU of Utah Activist
This growth of new and invasive technology includes body scanners at airports, facial recognition cameras, and artificial intelligence software that links it all together. Despite Utah’s reverence for privacy, our state is not exempt from this trend.
Did you know an ACLU of Utah staffer can speak at your event or meeting? We handle dozens of speaking requests a year--from monthly meetings, to rallies, to symposiums. Our staff is prepared fo speak on dozens of civil liberties and current event topics, or provide an introduction of what the ACLU does. Contact the ACLU of Utah today to schedule a speaker: https://www.acluutah.org/request-an-aclu-of-utah-speaker
It’s a 290-mile drive from Salt Lake City to Monticello, the seat of San Juan County in Utah’s southeast corner, and the rain followed our car the whole way. As clouds threatened another downpour, we joined the dozens of people converging on the San Juan County Courthouse to attend the May 21 County Commission meeting.
Today we know several unsettling facts about Utah’s criminal justice system. Our prison population is growing faster than any other state except Idaho; 76% of people entering prison are accused of violating their parole and probation, which is often from technical violations rather than committing new crimes; and 43% of Utahns entering prison are racial minorities despite a state minority population of only 20%.
It might surprise you that the ACLU of Utah doesn’t instinctively support hate crimes legislation that involves enhanced penalties for certain offenses. But when you consider our opposition to policies that promote mass incarceration and our constant fight to end the racism embedded in the criminal justice system, our stance shouldn’t be surprising.
Our staff has increased by three in recent months—including our first organizer based in southern Utah Rachel Appel Community Outreach Fellow The experiences that set Rachel on the path to working at the ACLU are as diverse as her current job description. She built affordable housing while biking across the country, learned community activism with Jews United for Justice, and worked at a Washington, D.C. law firm. Those previous roles help her now as she travels the state to organize events, meet ACLU members, and introduce Utahns to our mission. Rachel is excited to be working on the frontlines of social change as the nation moves through a pivotal period for civil liberties. “As someone who is coming from a position of relative privilege and power,” she explains, “I want to stand up for those who are disenfranchised, oppressed and threatened; which are also the goals of this amazing organization.” A self-described foodie, she loves new experiences—whether it’s trying out a new restaurant, challenging herself on a mountain hike, or getting to know the diverse communities spanning the state. She especially looks forward to creating long-lasting relationships during her time at the ACLU of Utah. “I believe an essential component of…
The ACLU of Utah’s first-ever outreach coordinator for southern Utah has hit the ground running In August, Sydni Makemo joined the ACLU of Utah as the organization’s first-ever Southern Utah Outreach Coordinator. Based in St. George, Sydni will boost our affiliate’s engagement in this fast-growing part of the state. We asked her to describe her first month on the job, and this is what she wrote: Dear ACLU of Utah: Although you might not realize it, we are already friends. You can call me Sydni. I’m new to the ACLU, but I’m not new to appreciating the work that this organization does. Like many of you, I’ve witnessed injustice in my life. And, like many of you, I’ve seen how the law—skillfully applied—can bring justice to those denied it. I believe that one of the best things about our country is how the civil liberties outlined in the U.S. Constitution apply equally to everyone living here. You don’t need to be a citizen to exercise your First Amendment rights. You don’t need to be documented to seek protection against discrimination. Well, at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. When the system fails, the ACLU is there to plug the…
Citizen-driven initiatives will let Utah voters pass new laws that legislators have let languish This November it’s extremely important to complete your entire ballot. That’s because Utah voters will consider three numbered ballot questions addressing medical marijuana (proposition #2), Medicaid expansion (#3), and redistricting (#4).
On February 13, Marina Lowe, the ACLU of Utah’s chief lobbyist at the Utah Capitol, provided a rapid-fire update on five legislative priorities for the ACLU of Utah. Here is part #2 of her report:
This week Marina Lowe, the ACLU of Utah’s chief lobbyist at the Utah Capitol, provided a rapid-fire update on five legislative priorities for the ACLU of Utah. Ready to learn more?
Earlier this week, attention turned to a new bill at the Utah legislature that would make Utah a “two-party recording” state. The ACLU's position on this bill might surprise you.