Monday, April 23, 2012

Issues of race, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opened its SC offices in 2008, with Victoria Middleton as Executive Director.  Currently, the organization has three employees who are tasked with assisting in civil rights cases throughout the entire state.  They have taken stands and gotten involved with defense of voter registration drives and women’s reproductive health rights, opposition to mandatory and groundless drug testing, and protecting everyone’s religious freedom by opposing anyone’s mandatory participation in any one belief.  While not every issue the ACLU becomes involved with will be a popular one, it’s important to remember that their legal arguments are always rooted in a literal interpretation of the Constitution and in the law. In a state that prides itself on autonomy and self-determination, the ACLU serves as a strong ally for South Carolinians who want to protect civil liberties.  According to Rock Hill civic leader Melvin Poole, “A membership in the ACLU is akin to purchasing an insurance policy that protects our basic rights from being eroded by people who seek to reshape our society to fit their own agenda.”  Contributions to the ACLU must be privately made; grants to the ACLU Foundation of SC (which supports many of the ACLU’s goals) can be made by Community Foundation donors.  To find out more, visit www.aclusouthcarolina.org.


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