This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Fall Newsletter >>
It is a good time to be a member and supporter of the ACLU of Utah. We have an impressive history, we are ushering in a multitude of successes today, and we are planning and strategizing to ensure civil liberties in Utah for the future. In the past 5 years, we have grown our staff, we have grown our budget, and we have grown our impact through our integrated advocacy approach that utilizes legislation, litigation, and education to positively affect change in Utah.
One example of our integrated advocacy approach is the work we did in the past year to ensure that the state’s prescription database cannot be searched without a court ordered warrant (see summer newsletter “Utah Fire Fighters Victim of Fourth Amendment Violations”). We first filed a legal brief in a case brought by a paramedic whose prescription records were searched without probable cause, then followed up with public education about the problem and finally helped ensure a legislative fix to ensure that this 4th Amendment violation will not be repeated.
Because the ACLU of Utah has been successful on many fronts, we have been in a good place to think strategically about our future and to work proactively, rather than just defensively. To that end, we have created ambitious goals and objectives for the next 5 years leading up to the national ACLU’s 100th birthday in 2020 as well as our own ACLU of Utah’s 60th birthday in 2018!
Our goals span many issues, including:
- Pursuing further work to help fix our broken criminal justice system; just one of our initiatives is our “YES ON SIX” campaign which is pushing the state to institute a constitutionally appropriate indigent defense system;
- Continuing efforts to protect our privacy when new technologies like police body cams, drones, or DNA collection issues come into play;
- Ensuring a healthy, participatory democracy where we champion voting rights;
- Advancing LGBT equality in Utah, including non-discrimination protections in public accommodations and championing transgender people’s rights to be themselves;
- Tackling immigration reform where opportunities arise, including in detention and deportation practices;
- Defending women’s reproductive rights;
- Advancing racial justice.
Please know that you, our supporters and members, are what make our successes possible when it comes to defending civil liberties for all Utahns. Please consider a gift to the ACLU of Utah using the enclosed envelope or a legacy gift (see page 3 of this newsletter for details). Thank you again for your generous support!
Cathleen Power, ACLU of Utah President of the Board of Directors