The ACLU of Utah Activist
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…
Our team will push forward on equality and criminal justice, while protecting rights we’ve already secured The 2019 Utah Legislative Session is just a few months away. Led by Marina Lowe, the ACLU of Utah’s Legislative & Policy Counsel, our team will be supporting an array of sound policy proposals next year. As in previous years, we will rely on our well-informed and committed network of ACLU community activists to amplify our message. Stay tuned for more information about our lobbyist training workshops and online trainings in the new year. Below is what we expect on our policy docket when the Utah Legislature convenes in late January 2019. #1 Gender Equality We anticipate a variety of measures to ensure that Utah employees are treated fairly in the workplace. Did you know that Utah businesses with fewer than 15 workers don’t have to comply with antidiscrimination labor laws? We will seek to apply nondiscrimination protections to Utah employers with as few as one employee. This change would provide consistent and fair protections to employees from discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. The ACLU will also support efforts to expand access to the Family Medical Leave Act,…
New laws and activist campaigns are expanding voter access across the nation—and right here in Utah Voter suppression is real. In 2011, the ACLU counted 30 attempts by state legislatures to restrict the right to vote through strategies such as limiting early voting opportunities and requiring photo IDs. But every action can spawn a reaction, and recent efforts to suppress voting have galvanized an equally strong response to protect and expand access to the ballot box—with the ACLU leading the charge. Here are a few examples: In June, lawyers from the ACLU Voting Rights Project bested Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, in a three-week trial challenging his 2013 law requiring voters to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. Not only did the judge strike down the Kansas law as overly restrictive, but she also ordered Kobach to complete six hours of “continuing legal education,” the lawyer equivalent of being sent to summer school. When Georgia election officials attempted in August to close 7 out of 9 polling places in a rural county (claiming they weren’t accessible to people with disabilities), activists created a media firestorm to stop the effort by highlighting that a majority of people living…
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).
Like the rest of the nation, Utah has a mass incarceration problem. But there is a solution. We released the Smart Justice Utah Blueprint - an analysis that shows how all of us, from community members to policymakers, can transform the criminal justice system and cut Utah incarceration numbers in half.
With nearly 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents in just six weeks alone, there is an unprecedented human rights disaster unfolding at our border. The ACLU of Utah has created this resource page to provide information including action alerts and upcoming rallies and protests in Utah.
ACLU of Utah and Disability Law Center File Lawsuit To Make Jail Standards Public
The student led "March for Our Lives" drew an estimated 8,000 protestors to the Utah State Capitol calling for stricter gun control policies.
On Monday, March 12 the ACLU of Utah organized a Facebook Live workshop on Students' Rights as students prepare for walkouts in March and April. Watch the video here!
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?