We are living in unprecedented times. We know things feel scary. We want to reassure you that the ACLU-MN’s work to safeguard civil liberties goes on – and we’re working harder than ever – even though where we’re doing it has changed.
POLICY: Our policy team is busy monitoring developments remotely and at the Capitol. Until yesterday, our Legislature had been in recess due to COVID-19. We learned that lawmakers had been meeting outside the public eye. While this may technically be legal, it does not promote or provide transparency in government, and we joined calls for open meetings and accountability. Democracy doesn’t function in darkness.
LEGAL: Our lawyers just sued the federal government for illegally detaining a Minnesotan and U.S. citizen for 11 months, even though he repeatedly told them he was a citizen, and even after an immigration judge ruled that he was indeed a citizen.
We also were in court fighting for Myriam Parada, a young woman who was rear-ended by another driver. Instead of helping Myriam, police illegally arrested and jailed her for ICE. That’s the last in-person hearing we’ll likely have for a while, so we’re pushing to ensure that important upcoming hearings are done remotely rather than being rescheduled. Justice cannot and should not be delayed. That’s unconstitutional and inhumane. We sent a letter to state leaders and policing agencies recommending they take several steps to reduce jail and prison populations to prevent the spread of COVID in crowded conditions, and now we’re working with these leaders to push for change. Our team is also pushing to get individuals held illegally by ICE out of detention.
ORGANIZING: Our organizing team is attending meetings remotely to brainstorm how to build community and support around civil liberties issues. We’re working with community allies to push for an end to immigrant detention. Watch this space and our social media @aclumn for upcoming ways you can engage.
COMMUNICATIONS: Our communications team is tracking COVID-19 and civil liberties issues on our website and our social media platforms @aclumn. We’ve created a page with regular updates about the latest COVID-19 news and our work at https://www.aclu-mn.org/en/resources/aclu-mn-response-covid-19 and how to stay involved from your couch: https://www.aclu-mn.org/en/advocacy-home.
FUNDRAISING: The Liberty Awards have been moved to June 3. We may need to postpone this event again, so please watch @aclumn for updates. If you are donating from a donor-advised fund, be assured we will send the appropriate tax letters by the year’s end. Please consider making your gifts online at https://app.mobilecause.com/form/NKEWSw?vid=6az3u.
GET INVOLVED BY ADVOCATING FROM HOME
We know it would be easy to give into fear and helplessness, not to mention to go a little stir crazy. We fight this ourselves! But a great way to battle the uncertainty – and cabin fever – is to get involved in the fight for civil liberties, even while you’re stuck inside.
We have a lot of work to do, including reducing mass incarceration, ending the dangerous and cruel tactics used by ICE, and reforming unfair and restrictive voting laws, all of which threaten the most vulnerable people in our communities.
This work toward equality and fairness cannot stop because many of our lives are mostly moving indoors. Fortunately, we don't need a march or a rally in order to engage in advocacy. We can find strength in ourselves and each other, and in turn, work to strengthen our communities. Find opportunities to get involved at https://www.aclu-mn.org/en/advocacy-home
Protecting and promoting civil liberties is more crucial than ever. Please be assured that the ACLU has been here for 100 years, we are here now, and we’ll continue to be here long into the future, thanks to your support.