Author: Steve David

  • 04.04.16

    Take It Out of the Ballgame

    Opening Day
    Photo by Erik Dorst from Flickr Commons.

    For many Clevelanders, Opening Day is a special holiday. They have survived another winter, so it’s time to celebrate.

    And who could think of a better way to express your joy than by wearing racist symbols and yelling epithets at people trying to reclaim their history?

  • 09.16.15

    Make Constitution Day Mean Something—Vote!


    The right to vote has been fought over since the very beginning of this county. Using qualifiers like property, sex, color, and now even ID, those with access to political power have found plenty of reasons to restrict the participation of those without it.

  • 08.19.15

    Five Things You Need Know About Organizing Protest in Cleveland

    Cleveland Debate Protest

    If the new protest ordinance passed by Cleveland City Council raised alarms for you, you’re not alone. Whenever government does things at the last minute with no opportunity for public comment, appropriate reactions are usually skepticism and frustration.

    But considering the old ordinance was full of vague language that left the door open to abuses by the city and police, the new rules are a net benefit—despite the bad practice of their passage.

  • 08.05.15

    Making Government Work: 25 Years of the ADA

    ADA - Americans With Disabilities Act - 25th Anniversary - 1990-2015

    With the presidential campaign already underway and the Buckeye State being a favorite stop for candidates, you can expect to hear a lot said about limiting government. At the ACLU, we get that. For more than 90 years we have been working to keep the government out of people’s speech, cell phones, and personal medical decisions.

  • 06.15.15

    A Polite Backlash

    Trans Rights Now

    In case you missed it, intolerance is out of style.

    The reveal of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover reminded people that in most circles publicly denouncing someone because of their identity is no longer acceptable. While there is no shortage of open bigotry to be found on the Internet, the national dialogue has shifted away from obvious antipathy.

  • 05.27.15

    Making Re-Entry Fair

    Handcuffs and Ballot Box

    The corrections officer was putting on a show for us when we arrived at the Chillicothe Correction Institution (CCI) for their spring re-entry fair.

    I arrived the same time as two women who ran a support group for families with loved ones in prison.

  • 04.06.15

    Gay IS NOT the New Black

    Rainbow Flag

    Discrimination hurts people. It’s wrong for someone to look at you, your significant other or you family and say, “We won’t serve you here.”

    With the recent passage of Indiana’s RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), people are right to be outraged.

  • 03.23.15

    The Making of “Prisons For Profit”: A Raw Deal

    Prison fence

    Ralph Mackey knows what he would do to make money in politics.

    “If I were a politician,” he said, “I’d be pushing private prisons.”

    Despite this statement, Mackey is no advocate for prison privatization. He knows far too much about what happened when Lake Erie Correctional Institute (LaECI) was sold to Corrections Corporation of America.

  • 03.16.15

    The Making of “Prisons For Profit”: Building Characters

    Prisons For Profit

    One of the first things that Craig Knowles loved about Cleveland was the Cleveland International Film Festival.

    This “hidden gem in the city” as Knowles put it, will premiere his film “Prisons for Profit” during the Ohio Shorts Program 3 on March 26th.

  • 03.09.15

    The Making of “Prisons For Profit”: One Last Call

    Prisons For Profit

    Paul Reynolds was ready to give up.

    Reynolds was working as a corrections officer at the Lake Erie Correctional Institute when the state of Ohio sold the facility to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).  It was the first (and only) time a state prison was sold to a private company. 

  • 03.06.15

    Racial Justice and Police Practices: Raising the Issue

    Communities of Color Under Siege

    Are people right to say that if you don’t break the law police won’t bother you? Is it true that if you obey police orders you won’t get hurt?

    Not if you live in Cleveland—or in Ferguson, Missouri, for that matter.

  • 02.02.15

    Seeking the Right Questions On Race and Criminal Justice Reform

    Photograph courtesy of Rachel Woods

    You will never find a solution without asking the right questions.

    Last week, Columbus hosted two different gatherings intended to address tensions between communities of color and law enforcement. While part of the same conversation, both brought different people and different approaches to find solutions.

  • 01.14.15

    LGBT in O-H-I-O

    Ohio is a great place to be gay—well, almost.

    Despite sleepy rust-belt stereotypes,Ohio has become a center for LGBT life and culture.  People may assume big cities on the coasts are the places to go for inclusive policies and vibrant social scenes, but LGBT and allied communities have claimed space and recognition in the heart of the Midwest.

  • 12.26.14

    Survival Conversations

    Is policing really broken in America?

    There are plenty of tweets, talking heads and letters to the editor agreeing that it is working just fine. They paint the national dialogue in a metaphorical black and white; obey the police and you won’t get shot.

  • 12.06.14

    Fallout From Ferguson: Takeaways From Two Ohio Protests



    That age-old protesters’ rallying cry has been echoing across the country since November 24 when a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, failed to indict the police officer responsible for killing Michael Brown. The following day, people in several Ohio towns and throughout the nation gathered in protest.

  • 11.28.14

    Check Yourself: Five Tips for Becoming a Better Advocate

    We all have biases.  It’s part of being human.

    After all, we expect the world to work in certain ways and situations outside our assumptions can be jarring. Although the process may be uncomfortable, it is by recognizing and challenging our prejudices and preconceptions that we are better able to help others.

  • 11.17.14

    Community Safety: A Call for a Moratorium on 1033

    What makes us feel safe in our communities?

    When you know your neighbors, when youth have connections to positive people, and when residents feel pride in the appearance of their street, this keeps a community safe. When men armed with assault rifles and flash grenades spill out of an armored personnel carrier in the middle of the night to break down a door searching for drugs, this has the opposite effect.

  • 10.29.14

    Carrying the Torch: Conversations on Race and Policing

    When tensions flared in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer, the billowing smoke and swelling crowds caught the nation’s attention as images of heavily armed police marched across the news and social media feeds. A conversation about race, policing, and militarization followed.

  • 10.16.14

    Sounds of the Season: LWVO Takes Time to Listen


    During autumn in Ohio, yards change to the color of campaign signs.  And shifting as rapidly as the weather, the courts are handing down rulings about when you can cast your ballot.

    Just before early voting was set to begin, the U.S.

  • 10.10.14

    Whose History: In Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

    In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

    And when he landed in the Caribbean, he enslaved and killed the native Taíno people in his search for gold. Fifty years after his arrival, the densely populated villages and cultural legacies were all but destroyed.  

  • 09.25.14

    Books and Ballots: Voting Rights For Students


    As the summer draws to a close, thousands of students have packed their bags to return to college campuses across the state. Among questions about professors to take, how late you can wait to drop a class, and if you can really afford that textbook, is one they may not have not considered: How are you going to cast your ballot in November?

  • 09.11.14

    Double Feature: The ACLU and Outlook Media Challenge Intolerance at the Puffin Collaborative Film Festival

    Rosie the Riveter

    A biker, a hippie, and an ACLU lawyer walk into a restaurant…

    This is no joke, but in fact a pivotal scene in the classic 1969 film Easy Rider. In a Louisiana diner, the characters played by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson are confronted by the harsh realities of a changing American cultural landscape. 

  • 09.10.14

    Failing Grades: An Aramark Report Card

    Prison fence

    With school starting back up, there is one set of report cards already coming out. The state of Ohio should think twice before signing off on the grades that Aramark Correctional Services is bringing home.

    A recent report found that Aramark failed to meet contract compliance scores at seven of the twenty-six state prison facilities where it is currently providing food service.

  • 09.08.14

    Back to the Source: The ACLU Presents Constitution Day

    The Constitution

    Whether working in the courts, the legislature, or in the community, the task of protecting civil liberties takes on many different forms. While the ACLU uses diverse strategies to secure people’s freedoms, many of these fundamental rights are based in a common source: the Constitution of the United States.

  • 09.03.14

    Check Your Mail Ohio


    Last Friday, Secretary of State Jon Husted mailed absentee ballot applications to all registered Ohio voters. This puts ballots in reach for millions of Ohioans who choose to vote by mail each election.

    Access to vote by mail was not easily won.

  • 08.28.14

    Lights, Camera, and Action! The Puffin Collaborative Film Festival Begins Soon

    Rosie the Riveter

    The lights fade out, and the audience falls silent.

    There is something about great movies that is hard to describe, but impossible to ignore. The images, sounds and the darkness of the theater create a feeling that grabs you and says, “Pay attention, this is important.”

    The Puffin Collaborative Film Festival (PCFF) is built around that feeling.

  • 08.18.14

    Civil Liberties Field Notes: What’s Rational About Wage Discrimination?

    Rosie the Riveter

    I was unpacking my literature bag at the sign-in table when a man approached me and shook my hand.

    “You know,” he said, picking up a bust card, “the first check I ever wrote was to the ACLU. Check number 101.

  • 08.07.14

    The Challenge of Voting

    Voting can be hard.  The merits of candidates, sides of issues, and conflicting messages force us to make difficult decisions at the voting booth.  We often have hard conversations with family, friends, and colleagues that examine our beliefs and challenge our thinking.