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The Directors Chair: May the Torch of Freedom Continue to Light Our Way

19 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

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

South Ogden native tapped to head ACLU of UtahFollowing the 2016 elections the ACLU has seen a massive outpouring of support for our organization and the vital work we do.  Here in Utah, we have welcomed thousands of new, card-carrying members into the ACLU family and now enjoy our largest membership level in our nearly 60 year history!  We have also seen our donors, volunteers, and social media followers grow in number.  When the ACLU launched the People Power movement  in March, we were humbled and proud to see supporter-led events take place statewide, from Logan to Hurricane.  We are even more excited now as these supporters begin to mobilize in their communities.

To all of you who have joined, renewed your membership, donated, or supported our fight to defend liberty – we thank you.  We are here for you.  Realistically, we can’t protect the rights and freedoms of Utahns without you.  

Make no mistake, threats to equality, liberty and justice are real. Already President Trump has unleashed discriminatory and dangerous policies and orders.  Previous guidance protecting transgender students has been withdrawn, again leaving these vulnerable kids at risk. The misguided and discriminatory travel ban created chaos and apprehension for immigrants. As a result, there is no greater safety or security for Americans, but greater anxiety and fear in our communities.

In this environment, the ACLU nationally remains focused on 7 top priorities: demanding government accountability and transparency, protecting immigrants’ rights, defending reproductive rights, protecting first amendment rights, defending LGBTQ rights, defending core civil rights from erosion (including voting rights and protections against unfair policing), and mobilizing the American people.   

The ACLU of Utah is dedicated to championing these priority issues here in our state. Judging from Utah’s 2017 Legislative Session, this is going to be no easy task.  Although we succeeded in preventing several damaging bills from becoming law, and celebrated some important legislative gains, the threats were plentiful and the energy expended was immense.

We could not accomplish our mission of defending the civil rights and liberties of all Utahns without help.  Fortunately, we have you - our stalwart and passionate members and supporters.  Thank you.  Our ability to come together to support one another is critical with so many dark clouds on the horizon.  May the torch of freedom continue to light our way. I look forward to celebrating with you at the Bill of Rights Breakfast on May 25.

Brittney Nystrom, Executive Director