In Washington state, the ACLU is working on a broad range of issues, including major efforts to end mass incarceration, ensure police accountability, curb the school-to prison pipeline, safeguard voting rights, oppose the use of religion to discriminate, and preserve LGBT rights. In addition, in light of the 2016 elections, we are increasingly vigilant to take action in several areas:
Free Speech & Protest
- Oppose any efforts to crack down on peaceful protest and hold police accountable if they violate the rights to free speech and assembly.
- Resist a proposed a new state law that treats civil disobedience as “economic terrorism.”
- Provide workshops on Free Speech & Protest Rights to groups across the state.
- Urge cities to follow lead of Bellevue, Olympia, and Seattle, where local officials are protecting their communities, not doing the bidding of the federal immigration police.
Student Harassment and Bullying
- Ensure that public school officials respond swiftly and forcefully to any incident of harassment or bullying of Muslim, immigrant, female, or students of color.
- Hold accountable the Spokane psychologists who designed torture programs for the government.
- Make sure that people are not subjected to government surveillance based on their political or religious views.
- Ensure that government acquisitions of new surveillance technology occur only with public debate and safeguards for privacy rights.
- Oppose bills in the state legislature that would undermine abortion rights.
- Ensure that public health districts provide abortions in their local community, as the WA Reproductive Privacy Act requires.
The Bill of Rights lays out important limits to government power, protecting the rights to free speech and assembly, freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to a fair trial, and more. Let’s keep in mind that it was written by James Madison after several states called for greater protection for individual liberties to be included in the Constitution. Its guarantees of freedom are as important today as ever.