Member, Claremont Colleges ACLU Chapter
I joined the ACLU to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. The Constitution is what builds our legal system, and with out those rights we would have nothing.
I am proud to be an ACLU member because of all of the great work that the ACLU does for individuals. When the ACLU can help incarcerated individuals know their rights and win a criminal case then I know that the legal system is working. If the ACLU could handle every case then we would have a better legal system, and less individuals would be in jail because of unconstitutional policing.
I have always been a civil libertarian. But I think a lot of people take for granted our civil rights.
I am African American and my husband is Caucasian. In the 1980s, when I first moved to Orange County, I got stopped by police three times in one day. For years, I was regularly pulled over for the color of my skin. Then in 2000, after I got home from shopping one day, I found four police officers surrounding my home. The shopping center I had been at earlier had been robbed by “someone who was black,” so they tracked me down thinking it must be me. When my husband answered the door, the officers apologized. “It must be the wrong house,” they said. I was so offended.
There are few organizations out there shining a light on racial profiling, but the ACLU/SC is. The ACLU/SC has been there for people of color — not just African Americans, but also Latinos. Our legal team fights to ensure that people aren’t marginalized the way African Americans have been for so long. We fight so that the homeless aren’t subjected to a double system of justice, so that gay or lesbian teens aren’t harassed and ridiculed in schools, and so that immigrants aren’t mistreated by authority.
Budget Analyst for the County of Los Angeles
There is a real power of what we as members can do. It was members from different walks of life who brought to light many of the cases the ACLU/SC has taken up – like the abysmal treatment of homeless people by the city of Laguna Beach. We are on the front lines of civil rights, and what we see and do can really make a difference.
As a budget analyst, I understand that how people spend their money is a statement of what they really value. That’s true for cities, communities and organizations. And it’s why I am so committed to the ACLU of Southern California. It is one of the few organizations that fights for civil rights but also understands that economic justice is a civil right.
Roberta “Birdie” Reed
Retired Business Owner
I clearly recall the moment I began what’s been a lifelong commitment to the ACLU/SC. It was sometime before 1962, the year my daughter was born, and I picked up the Los Angeles Times. There was a huge ad that asked: Do you believe in separation of church and state? Do you believe in equality for all? There were other questions, too. I marked them all yes. The last line of the ad said, “Then you support the mission of the ACLU. Join.” I did.
Then, in 1965, the Watts revolt erupted. Police arrested more than 4,000 people. Many were innocent. The ACLU/SC came to their defense. This organization has never been afraid to speak out for justice, in big and small ways, and even when it’s politically unpopular. I have seen that first-hand.
In 2002, the ACLU/SC once again denounced the mass targeting of innocent men, when federal officials mandated that men and boys from some Muslim countries had to register with immigration officials. The move stoked anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of 9/11. Many people were needlessly detained. The Orange County chapter of the ACLU/SC, along with Muslim advocates, was on the front lines of a successful campaign to end this discriminatory practice.
The issues these days are different from when I first joined, but they are just as urgent.