ACLU Striving for Freedom
Two Recent ACLU Actions Against Government Mistakes
News Advisories from the American Civil Liberties Union
New Poll Shows Public Overwhelmingly Disapproves of Racial ProfilingA Gallup poll released today revealed that the majority of Americans -- both black and white -- believe that racial profiling is both widespread and unfair. The American Civil Liberties Union, which has long fought racial profiling by police at the local, state and national level, called the poll a resounding wake up call for public officials who deny that a problem exists.
"The Gallup poll makes it clear that it is time for public officials to take their heads out of the sand," said John Crew, coordinator of the national ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling. "Law enforcement officers and politicians can not simply wish this issue away. Racial profiling is deeply corrosive to the American tradition of fairness, and there is a growing national consensus that it must be stopped."
The Gallup poll (available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/index.asp) indicates that 59 percent of the American public believes that racial profiling is widespread; an overwhelming 81 percent disapproves of its use by police.
The ACLU recently launched a national campaign on the problem of racial profiling, also sometimes known as "DWB, driving while black or brown." Earlier this year the ACLU released a major public policy report on the problem, launched a national toll-free telephone hotline 1-877-6-PROFILE for people who feel that they have been targets of racial profiling, promoted anti-profiling legislation at the federal level and approximately 20 states, pushed law enforcement agencies to voluntarily collect traffic stop data to measure the scope of racial profiling, and litigated several racial profiling cases around the country. More information on the campaign and a web-based reporting form can be found at: http://www.aclu.org/profiling
"This poll simply confirms what the ACLU has been saying for years: racial profiling is a national problem and is rejected by an overwhelming number of Americans as unfair," said Rachel King, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "It is time for elected officials to catch up with the voters and pass legislation to address this problem."
ACLU Condemns School Board for Blocking Gay-Straight Club At a Southern California High SchoolThe ACLU of Southern California today condemned the Board of Education of the Orange Unified School District for refusing to allow the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at El Modena High School.
"The school board's disingenuous attempt to couch this as a sex education or curriculum issue has no merit," said ACLU Associate Director Elizabeth Schroeder. "The district will not succeed in its efforts to pick and choose which student clubs to fund."
"The board should be spending taxpayers' money on educating students, not on fighting lawsuits that they know they will lose," she added.
By denying the formation of the Gay-Straight Alliance, the board is in clear violation of the freedoms of expression and association that are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by parallel articles in the California Constitution, the ACLU said.
The board's refusal could also have a significant impact on the district's eligibility for federal education funds under a statute that prohibits public schools from discriminating against student clubs on the basis of a club's philosophical or political viewpoint.
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