Our country, and our state, need all of us, wherever we are, to be involved. The ACLU knows from long experience that our rights don’t protect themselves. It is our mission to protect and further our constitutional and civil rights, and to support our members in related efforts across the state.

We all know that since the 2016 election, threats to the civil rights of marginalized communities in the country and our state have intensifi ed. At the same time, we have seen support for the ACLU and activism grow too.

We are proud of the quick and powerful work the ACLU has done in the courts, especially since President Trump was elected. The ACLU of Maryland took part in the lawsuits challenging the Muslim ban and the transgender service member ban. The ACLU’s legal work has real power. But for us to make lasting change our legal work must be combined with grassroots organizing. For this reason, the ACLU of Maryland is investing in community engagement.

The ACLU’s goal isn’t just to hold the tide against ebbing freedom. The time must be now to prepare the groundwork for a more humane and free Maryland in the years to come. To achieve that goal, we are focused not just on what we do, but why we do it.

We are proud to say that the ACLU of Maryland is a leader among ACLU affi liates across the country in centering race equity in our work – both externally and internally. We are doing this because it is the right thing to do. We are doing this because centering race equity in both our work and our workplace will make it possible for us to have a greater, more lasting impact.

We acknowledge that the ACLU operates within and is often privileged by an entrenched system of white supremacy. That is why the ACLU of Maryland is using intentional strategies to better support and be accountable to communities of color, whose civil rights and civil liberties have been systematically threatened by white supremacy for centuries.

The ACLU of Maryland operates within institutions – like the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government – that were founded on and are sustained by white supremacy. Our goal is not only to defend people’s rights but also to upend the systems of bias that are the foundation of those institutions. By working towards this goal, in partnership with local grassroots efforts, we are determined to douse the fi re that fuels the rights violations that the ACLU has been fi ghting for nearly 100 years.

There may never be a time when constant vigilance isn’t needed to protect and advance our rights. Since we were founded in 1931, the ACLU of Maryland has been committed to constant vigilance. But we have hope that by intentionally and proactively working to undo the biased structures that perpetuate rights violations in our state, we can create a more just, more equitable Maryland for all our residents.

Thanks for standing with us,

Dana Vickers Shelley

Dr. Coleman Bazelon

Executive Director President, Board of Directors
ACLU of Maryland ACLU of Maryland