Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Have a Lot to be Thankful For...

Here at the ACLU, we’ve won some great victories and are proud of what we have accomplished over this past year. We have a lot to be thankful for! Our deepest appreciation goes to those whose membership and support makes our work throughout the nation and in the great state of Wyoming possible. As the year draws to a close, we’d like to highlight a few examples of what the ACLU has accomplished both nationally and in Wyoming.

In 2011, the ACLU of Wyoming:

• Issued juvenile justice report Inequality in the Equality State: The Damaged Juvenile Justice and Detention System in Wyoming
• Advocated for juvenile justice reforms
• Monitored legislative redistricting process to ensure equitable statewide voting rights
• Continued year round legislative lobbying and education efforts; helping to defeat DOMA, anti-choice and anti-immigration legislation
• Launched the first ACLU Student Chapter at the University of Wyoming
• Mentored undergraduate and law school interns
• Hosted first ACLU volunteer reception
• Co-sponsored Director’s screening and community discussion of the award-winning LGBT film, Out in the Silence
• Conducted statewide survey to monitor use of web-filtering software in public schools
• Conducted statewide survey to ensure availability of emergency contraceptives
• Promoted safe and humane conditions in Wyoming’s prisons and jails; successfully resolving numerous prisoner complaints
• Authored articles in Wyoming State Bar magazine on elections legislation, ACLU history and juvenile justice
• Presented on prisoners’ rights litigation at annual criminal law conference and drug law reform at University of Wyoming Consumer Issues conference
• Provided legal assistance and information on civil liberties issues
• Increased social media presence through Twitter, Facebook and our ACLU of Wyoming blog

In 2011, the ACLU accomplished nationally:

• "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" finally came to an end
• The extreme Mississippi Personhood Amendment was defeated
• Congressional attempts to defund Planned Parenthood failed
• An outrageous provision that would have granted this and all future presidents a blank check to involve the U.S. in a worldwide war without end was halted
• Free speech rights of Occupy Wall Street protestors have been defended
• New York state passed a landmark marriage equality law
• Illinois banned the death penalty
• ACLU lawsuits stalled enactment of every "show me your papers" racial profiling law passed across the country
• We blocked enactment of South Dakota's draconian anti-abortion law
• The Obama administration decided to stop defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act against an ACLU legal challenge

These are just a few of our many achievements in the last year and the ACLU is extremely honored by the fact that our work is supported by the generous giving of others. None of the things on this list could have been possible without ACLU supporters. Thanks to their support, the ACLU's robust defense of our fundamental freedoms prevailed on many fronts. Happy holidays from the ACLU of Wyoming!

American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming