Letter to Friends of Civil Liberties

Dana Vickers Shelley is a light-skinned Black woman with short blond hair. She is on the left of the image, smiling, and wearing an African print top. Homayra Ziad is a light-skinned Muslim woman, long black hair, wearing a red sweater and scarf.

[Reprint from ACLU of Maryland's 2022 Summer Newsletter - JOIN TODAY!]

We're furious and we know you are, too. Let's do something about it.

Our commitment remains: Despite the terrible Dobbs decision, the ACLU of Maryland will continue to support our communities, local partners, and member-donors to preserve abortion rights and access for any and all people who can get pregnant. We are focused and prepared to reinforce all the rights that together we have worked so hard to protect against threats – from the safety of LGBTQ+ people from harm to the rights of immigrants targeted by the deportation machine, and so many more.

Back in 2013, with the egregious Shelby decision, the Supreme Court started chipping away at our voting rights, when the majority invalidated two provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. Section 5 of the VRA contained key protections for Black and Brown voters in southern states with long histories of voter suppression. That dangerous decision currently is having serious consequences in the redistricting process and voter laws and access more generally. But now the Supreme Court justices are even more “originalist” (which should never be a goal if you care about civil and human rights), meaning we have much more to fear in future decisions that imperil our voting rights and our democracy itself.

Thankfully, the ACLU of Maryland’s strategic priorities encompass many of these pivotal issues. We’re also ready to meet the evolving, intersectional demands that these attacks on our rights from the Supreme Court represent, particularly to Black and Brown individuals and communities that have long been denied full access to these rights, even before these devastating rulings.

We must keep in mind that we have never seen true democracy or full access to rights for all. These ideas remain elusive, both in Maryland and across America. But we must imagine it, and then work to realize our vision. We won't back down, we won't give up, and we won't be silent. Together we are stronger.

And let’s remember: elections are happening right now in Maryland. If you want to make sure everyone in our state can exercise their rights so the law values and uplifts their humanity, you need to vote. Decisions we make for representation at the state, county, district, and local levels will determine if and how we can restore what has been lost, preserve what is essential, and advance rights for all in the future.