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.
By Mike Uth
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch recently released a startling and heart-breaking report on the drug war called Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States. The title’s “25 seconds” refers to the frequency of drug possession arrests in the United States—not selling or making drugs, simply the act of having a drug or, sometimes, merely drug residue.
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.
Cassie Chenoweth is a high school intern with the ACLU of Ohio.
While many people around the world are rightly taking a stand against discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, among others, we sometimes miss how discrimination works through cultural elements like vernacular or clothing style.
With early voting now underway in Ohio, the potential that marijuana may be legalized remains the hottest political topic in our state. With Colorado reporting sales of $100 million in just the last month, it’s ensured that legalization will remain on peoples’ minds here and everywhere else.
By Shakyra Diaz
Michael is 23, African-American and incarcerated because he was caught with a bag of marijuana. Now he’s a “repeat offender” because of a similar arrest years ago. He’s lost his job, freedoms, college plans, perhaps his shot at any decent future.
By Steve David
The monumental events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s gave hope to many African-Americans who desired an end to racial segregation and discrimination. The abolishment of Jim Crow laws ended the implementation of laws that supported racial segregation in Southern states.
By Shakyra Diaz
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Drug Court with fellow ACLU intern, Kyra Schoonover. It certainly was an eye-opening experience for both of us.
How It Works
Before the proceedings began, we met with the judge.
Following the botched execution of Dennis McGuire in Ohio early last year and other similar bungled executions across the country, death penalty opponents have been calling for reform.
In a recent article, former Governor Bob Taft (R) argued that the escalating price tag of the death penalty should warrant reconsideration of its use in Ohio.
Editor’s Note: On May 23, Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.
I was in class, listening with one ear to the live stream of the Brelo verdict on my laptop.
By Ellen Kubit
If you pay any attention to the news lately, you would think that the country is suddenly in the midst of a police misconduct crisis. Every month or so, we learn about how a police officer killed someone of color: Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tony Robinson, and unfortunately, far too many more.
“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.
By Steve David
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.
By Ellen Kubit
“NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!”
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.
This is the third in a series of posts focusing on issues we will be tackling at the 2014 ACLU of Ohio biennial conference, Resist. Reclaim. Restore Your Rights!
Recently the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force released recommendations for improving Ohio’s oft-criticized death penalty system.
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.