2007 Annual Report
Celebrating our 75th Anniversary was the highlight of 2007. With the goal of reaching out to the entire state, we organized over 10 events that drew nearly 1,000 Marylanders, including nearly 500 at our June celebration at the Ravens Stadium where we saluted National ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero and former National ACLU Legislative Director, Laura Murphy.
This report highlights the year’s other activities, as well as the challenges we continue to face. Free speech, due process, and equal protection under the law continue to be the mainstay of our work. Since 9/11, government abuse of power has steadily eroded these rights and the ACLU has responded with a synthesis of litigation, lobbying, and public education. This year we added another tool, field organizing, when we launched “Maryland ACLU CAN” — a constituents’ action network that teams up Maryland ACLU members/activists across the state with our National ACLU Legislative Office so that we can hold Congress accountable for correcting Bush Administration abuses. Top on our list? Insisting that Congress ban warrantless spying on Americans.
With your support, we tackled a broad array of other issues: challenging police arrests of motorists “driving while black,” and ensuring fair housing for African American families, quality education in all public schools, fairness for gays and lesbians, and the rights of workers and disabled persons. In 2007, Maryland ACLU boasted its first full-time State Legislative Director in the General Assembly, allowing us to craft more sophisticated political strategies, work with legislators in the off-season, and strengthen our issue and coalition leadership. We were able to fight invasions of personal privacy by the federal government’s “Real ID” program and to make real progress on criminal justice reform, including movement toward death penalty repeal. We also racked up wins for equal rights at the ballot box and for reproductive rights.
But even as we celebrated victories this year, we knew that our work is far from over. Convincing Congress to reinstate the rights lost since 9/11 continues to be a challenge. Here in Maryland, with the highest court’s ruling against civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples, the ACLU now turns to the legislature. And issues like racial justice, freedom of speech and religion, and youth rights are perennial.
As we mount each day’s new challenge, it is your friendship and support that sustains us. We look forward to your partnership in the coming year.