Free State Liberties - Summer 2023

July 10, 2023

Summer 2023 issue of Free State Liberties, the newsletter by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Maryland.


  • Letter from the Executive Director
  • Voting Rights
  • Know Your Rights
  • General Assembly Report
  • Immigrants' Rights

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(Newsletter Editor: Meredith Curtis Goode; Writer: Neydin Milián; Designer: Nicole McCann)

Summer 2023: Spotlights

Letter from the Executive Director

5 Years of Making “Good Trouble”

Dana Vickers Shelley is a Black woman with warm light brown skin, blond short hair, and is smiling at the camera. She is standing in front of a brick wall.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of having our wonderful Executive Director at our affiliate. Dana Vickers Shelley dives into their experiences of activism and her love for the people beside her doing the work. Hear from them as they explain how we are leaning into our mission so we can see lasting change, and how we advocate for the humanity of all Marylanders.

Voting Rights

Fearless Black Residents on the Brink of History as They Challenge an All-White Town Council’s Racist Election System

Local Black activists, residents, and Maryland laywers are in a group outside of a Federalsburg courthouse with a reporter holding a microphone up to a Black resident.

Have you heard that Black residents in Federalsburg are suing their Town after 200 years of no representation in the all-white town council? Seven Black women who live in Federalsburg – Roberta Butler, Sherone Lewis, Darlene Pitt Hammond, Elaine Hubbard, Nikendra Bordley, Ryan Haynes, and Lywanda Johnson were joined by the Caroline County Branch of the NAACP and the Caucus of African American Leaders in asking the court to order into place a new election system that fully addresses longstanding vote dilution.

Read more about the history of disenfranchisement and racism in the town of Federalsburg and how it informs the present.

Know Your Rights

Do you know your rights in police encounters, with the new legalization of recreational marijuana, and more?

Black person with fist in the air wearing a t-shirt with the names of Black people killed by police

The ACLU of Maryland’s Know Your Rights (KYR) program informs Marylanders of their rights so they can make informed decisions, be good witnesses when violations occur, and know their options for taking action. Get KYR information about recent marijuana legalization, protesting, your rights during police encounters, rights information for LGBTQ+ students, immigrants and residents, and more.

General Assembly Report

During the 90-day, 2023 Maryland General Assembly session, every action alert you signed, every phone call and email you sent to legislators, every meeting or rally you attended to demand better for all Marylanders, made a difference.

Group of advocates and Maryland residents gather at a press conference in Annapolis about a bill to end police stops and searches. Photo credit: Meredith Curtis Goode.

Thank you for raising your voice in support of ending the police practice of stopping and searching Black Marylanders based on the alleged smell of marijuana, independent investigatory powers for local Police Accountability Boards, voting rights, education equity, and other important priorities.

Read our General Assembly report to catch up on the victories, disappointments, and continued work from the 2023 legislative session.

Immigrants' Rights

We’re calling on President Biden to end Frederick County’s 287(g) program.

People hands shown holding a protest sign that says, "No Racismo, no 287g."

Have you heard the news about Frederick Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ recent charges of conspiracy and illegal machine guns? We did and weren’t surprised to find out. Jenkins has made incendiary comments about the Latinx/e community and immigrants through the media and through written and oral testimony that consistently devalues their lives as justification for his office’s discriminatory conduct.

It is obvious that under Sheriff Jenkins, his department has racially profiled the Latine/x community and unfairly targeted immigrants. Now, the Frederick County sheriff is on leave after he was ordered to surrender his service weapon.

Learn why President Joe Biden should end Frederick’s federal 287(g) programs that emboldens racist law enforcement here.

Support the ACLU of Maryland

Can we count on you to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

Collage of activist photos with a dark orange overlay.

Your personal commitment and strong support will make all the difference in the fight for civil rights.