The American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. Through advocacy, public education and litigation, our staff and volunteers work to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions and civil rights laws. Among those liberties are freedoms of speech, religion and association; the right to petition the government; separation of church and state; the right to privacy; reproductive freedom; due process of law; the rights of the accused; and the right to equal treatment under the law.
Impact Summary from the Nonprofit Recent key accomplishments of our public education program include: Published “Reproductive Health Locked Up: An Examination of Pennsylvania Jail Policies,” highlighting the violations of rights of incarcerated women with respect to health care; the report has resulted in many prisons changing their policies. Educated immigrants about their rights through publications and know-your-rights presentations; Produced and distributed a wide variety of know-your-rights publications about topics such as free speech, the right to record police in public, and students’ rights, including 12,000 copies for Pennsylvania public school students in both English and Spanish; Provided leadership in a multi-year campaign to convince the Philadelphia School District to abandon its zero-tolerance policy and to adopt proven prevention and conflict resolution methods. As a result, the school district has made changes to its policies. Recent accomplishments of our legal program: Filed a lawsuit to overturn Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law, which will likely disenfranchise tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians; Released a report in October 2011 detailing the ongoing, severe systemic problems in the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender and calling on officials to fix the agency; Reached a settlement agreement with the city of Philadelphia to change the Philadelphia Police Department’s racial profiling practices in its stop-and-frisk program; Won two upper court decisions involving the right of students not to be punished for online speech outside of school; Advised Occupy protesters in nine locations around the state; and Won a precedent-setting case that stops the government from holding individuals indefinitely in immigration detention without a bond-release hearing. Goals for the current year: Reduce racial and economic disparity in the criminal justice system; Protect the rights of immigrants; Defend against discrimination against LGBT individuals; Advocate for racial justice; Protect reproductive rights; Protect the right to vote and access to democracy.
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