The right to dissent is a founding principle of our country. Often, in the United States and abroad, powerful forces attempt to suppress speech in times of political tension or when people are making demands for change. Yet, this is exactly when speech and assembly are most important.
As part of our “tough on crime” mentality, many elected officials and members of the public have supported the belief that people convicted of serious violent crimes are deserving of death, yet few of us look beyond the crime to see how these sentences are handed down.
After bringing the legendary Selma marches to the big screen, Ava Duvernay returns with a new Netflix documentary, 13th, telling the true story behind the 13th amendment. Passed in 1865, it declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The amendment was one of the most important in history, yet its wording enabled slavery to evolve in America, allowing discrimination against African Americans to continue within our justice system.
In modern America’s contentious political climate, we often hear about “activist judges” writing laws from the bench. The Supreme Court, consisting of nine judges who are appointed by the President and Congress for life, may seem far removed from the populist democracy created by the founders, and while voters appear to have very little say in how the Supreme Court decides cases, David Cole’s book Engines of Liberty: the Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law shows that community members have great influence over Constitutional law, even before an stately body such as the Supreme Court.
By Tim Cable
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to reflect not just on what King accomplished but also on how his tactics can inform our work for social change.
When King wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, racial segregation was an institution.
“Someday, somebody’s going to do something with my music.” These were the last words uttered by Louise Shropshire, a Cincinnati choir director and composer.
Somebody did do something with her music. One of her hymns became the anthem of the civil rights movement.
Life changing moments often come at us out of the blue and so it was for Dollree Mapp.
Early on May 23, 1957, Dollree was alone in her Cleveland home, enjoying her privacy. When her doorbell rang, she had no idea that what happened next would change state laws on how evidence should be handled and establish her legacy as a woman who spoke up for her rights.
By Kim Schuette
The Ohio Supreme Court recently issued a new report documenting the use of mayor’s courts in 2013 and highlighting a decade-long decline in caseloads. But don’t let that fact fool you.
Sure, mayor’s courts in Ohio are hearing 14 percent fewer cases than 10 years ago, but other kinds of courts are hearing fewer cases, too.
By Jeff Miller
Belle Likover and Susan Galloway
It’s not where you’re from; it’s not where you are—it’s what you do.
Long time ACLU supporters, Ed and Belle Likover are shining examples of activists who truly lived and breathed this sentiment. Ed Likover stood for what he believed in even if he stood alone, and his courage never wavered.
By Ellen Kubit
Have you shown up to rent an apartment, but were turned away because of the color of your skin? Or because you have a disability? The law might not be on your side anymore.
Discrimination in access to housing is unlawful.
By Nick Worner
This month, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Today, the march is remembered primarily for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But for many activists, it represents something even bigger: the high water mark of a movement that inspired generations of future activists to spend their lives fighting against hate and poverty wherever they find it.