ACLU of Alabama Quick Facts
Who We Are
- We are a part of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the leading nationwide nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting and advancing free speech, equal rights, and other civil liberties.
- We are the only organization in Alabama that is solely fighting for the Constitutional rights and liberties of every individual in the state.
- We are a historic organization that has been defending civil rights and civil liberties for decades. Formally established in 1965 during the Civil Rights Movement, the ACLU of Alabama faced a hostile environment in order to serve as a permanent line of defense against unconstitutional threats and assaults to our freedoms.
- We are a membership-driven organization with a network of over 5000 members who support our work. The ACLU was founded to bring together citizens to ensure that the Bill of Rights was more than a piece of paper and to see that those rights were enforced.
- We are dedicated to turning the promises of the Bill of Rights into a reality for all Alabamians.
Why We Are Effective
- We play by the rules. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights guide all of our work.
- We are experienced advocates. We have been working to defend and preserve freedom and liberty in Alabama for over 50 years.
- We serve everyone. The ACLU of Alabama defends the Constitutional rights of individuals of every age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and immigration status in Alabama regardless of political interests or affiliation.
- Our members and supporters are steadfast. We could not fulfill our mission without the generosity and commitment to democracy of our members, donors, and volunteers.
How We Work
Educating and engaging the public is crucial to the mission of the ACLU of Alabama. By providing information to the public about Constitutional rights, individuals are better able to advocate for civil liberties for themselves and their communities.
The right to vote is fundamental to democracy, and we at the ACLU of Alabama believe that registering and voting should be as easy as possible. We provide information online and in person so that Alabama voters understand voter ID laws, absentee ballots, registration deadlines, crossover voting, and other regulations.
Alabama law punishes people who have committed certain crimes by restricting their right to vote. Some disenfranchised voters are eligible to restore their right to vote. We have created educational materials and clinics to assist those who were formerly incarcerated in navigating the voting rights restoration process.
Educating on know-your-rights
Whether facing the criminal justice system or the immigration detention and deportation system, knowing your rights can make a difference. By understanding your rights, you may be able to avoid letting ICE agents into your home without permission, answering questions you don't have to answer, and other possible scenarios.
By arming people with information, impacted communities can come together, talk about the challenges they are facing, and empower each other to stand up and fight.
Analyzing public policies, testifying on bills, and influencing policy-makers are important techniques to prevent the government from infringing on people's rights.
The ACLU, however, is nonpartisan, and does not endorse political candidates. We do support ballot initiatives that promote civil liberties.
Finding better solutions for criminal justice
At 167% capacity, Alabama prisons are the most overcrowded in the country, and the prison population has grown almost fives times since 1980. Our prison system cannot sustain this number of people coming in and staying for lengthy sentences without making some changes.
We are committed to reducing the strain of mass incarceration by focusing on finding bipartisan opportunities to reform how many people are sent to prison and for how long.
Stopping the use of religion to discriminate
People should be able to live, work, and seek healthcare without fear of discrimination or restrictions based on other's religious beliefs.
We have been working for marriage equality and access to abortion in Alabama for years, and we will continue to watch the state legislature for bills that seek to restrict rights and sanction discrimination.
Helping people secure their rights through negotiation and lawsuits when necessary is one of the main tools available to us to protect individual rights. We litigate cases, both directly and as amicus curiae (friend of the court), in order to broaden and strengthen civil liberties.
Fighting for reproductive rights
As state policy makers pass laws and enact policies that make it harder for people to access birth control, abortion, and other reproductive services, the ACLU of Alabama has fought back at every turn.
Through our litigation, we have ensured that Alabama can never terminate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood without cause, we have recently had four separate restrictions that impacted a woman's access to abortion struck down for being unconstitutional, and we stopped minors from being subjected to a trial-like procedure when seeking an abortion without parental consent.
Defending freedom of speech
From Black Lives Matter to the Women's March, from #TakeAKnee to Standing Rock, people are exercising their First Amendment rights across the nation in a wave of activism unlike anything we have seen in decades.
We stand up for the rights of protesters across the political spectrum to speak their minds without fear of government surveillance or harassment.
In Alabama, we have also protected citizens from being silenced for speaking out against big business.