Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
Since the first whispers of a national civil rights movement were heard in the 1930's, with the prosecution of the Scottsboro Boys, the ACLU has been intensely involved in the struggle for those who have traditionally been denied their basic rights. Our commitment to racial equality and justice has been a centerpiece of our litigation, advocacy and public education work ever since.
1931 The Scottsboro defendants – eight African-Americans wrongfully accused of raping two white women
'In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trail, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the criminal shall have been committed.'
From its very beginnings, the ACLU has been at the forefront of the movement to establish constitutional standards in the criminal justice system and to safeguard against abuses of power by those in law enforcement.
The grand jurys’ decisions in Missouri and New York do not negate the fact that the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are part of an alarming trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.
The ACLU will continue to fight for racial justice. To build trust, we must have a democratic system where our communities have an equal say in the way their neighborhoods are policed. Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, and public safety pave the path forward.
There are children in cages along the U.S.-Mexico border right now. And more are showing up every day. Under our laws, we do not turn away unaccompanied kids who come here fleeing violence. The Constitution is not expendable. Its principles define us as a nation. We must stay true to them.