When the government chooses to exercise its leverage to decrease, ignore, or reduce, the liberties and rights of law-abiding citizens, it requires an increased awareness to the public and a heightened approach by advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU was founded in 1920 by 11 anti-war protesters who were primarily focused on freedom of speech issues. At that time in America, there weren’t any advocacy groups available that could become a watchful eye, or supporter, for civil rights.
In the 1930’s, the ACLU expanded to include the protection of people’s rights pertaining to police misconduct and racial discrimination. By the mid 1960’s the organization reached a membership of 80,000 members. As of 2017, the ACLU now has 1.2 million members and an annual budget of over $133 million to support many causes throughout the United States.
The founding members were determined to exercise freedom of speech rights and empower those who felt disenfranchised by the government solely because of their political views regarding war.
Since that time, the ACLU has broadened the scope to include protecting the rights of women, same-sex marriage, abortion, and they hold an opposing position on the death penalty. Those issues, and many more, are why the non-profit organization has over 300 staff attorneys to render the legal support. Learn more about Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737
Advocacy groups serve a significant role in the community and without them some people would not have a way to combat the injustices they believe have reduced their civil rights.
Groups such as the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund provide assurances to the public that their rights are being afforded the protection they’ve earned as American citizens. The Larkin & Lacey Fund was founded after a landmark case involving its founding members Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin. After an unprecedented violation of their civil rights involving the first amendment right, which was ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court in their favor, the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund was created to provide resources for an array of civil rights issues.
Based in the state of Arizona, the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund has prevailed on issues that have empowered the community to not only stand up for their civil rights and liberties, but to also become informed.
The organization was in support of Arizona ACLU’s successful defending of free speech of day laborers, as well as Arizona’s “show me your papers” SB1070, which was passed to require law enforcement to implement immigration laws. SB1070 was later determined to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. As a result of the case, the Arizona ACLU joined forces with other affiliates to focus more on border litigation. Read more: Phoenix New Time
With advocacy groups continuing to enforce the civil liberties and civil rights of American citizens, there can be less of a reason for concern; however, there will be a continuing need for their expansion. There has never been a time in America where the lines have been blurred as much as they are now.