2020…A Year Like No Other. - News from The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, ACLU of Rhode Island News, RIACLU News


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2020…A Year Like No Other.

Posted: December 28, 2020|Category: Active Case Category: COVID-19 Category: Criminal Justice Category: Discrimination Category: Gender Discrimination Category: Racial/Ethnic Discrimination Category: Rights of the Disabled Category: Rights of the Poor Category: Due Process Category: Immigration Category: Police Practices Category: Privacy Category: Right to Petition & Protest Category: Rights of Candidates Category: Rights of Ex-Offenders Category: Students' Rights Category: Voting Rights Category: Women's Rights

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To state the obvious, 2020 was a year like no other. And despite all the curveballs, we continued our hard work defending civil liberties – including threats brought on by the pandemic, highly publicized incidents of racial injustice, and unprecedented election challenges. We hope this brief sampling of highlights spurs you to make a special year-end contribution.

  • Voting RightsOur successful lawsuit that went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court allowed hundreds of thousands of RI residents to vote during the pandemic by waiving a requirement that people voting by mail needed to have two witnesses or a notary sign their ballot envelope.
  • Immigrants’ Rights In response to our class-action lawsuit, a federal judge ordered the release of dozens of immigrant detainees at the Wyatt Detention Center who were particularly vulnerable to death or serious health risks if they contracted Covid-19.
  • Economic Justice + Due Process – After the state Department of Labor and Training froze weekly unemployment insurance benefits, without notice, to thousands of Rhode Islanders who were out of work due to the pandemic, our lawsuit led to the restoration of the payments.
  • First Amendment – After we intervened, the Barrington School District dropped a lawsuit it had filed against one of its own students who had successfully challenged his unlawful suspension from school.
  • Discrimination – We filed a federal lawsuit charging the Providence Police Department with discriminating against Michael Clark, a Black recruit who was involuntarily dismissed from the Police Academy after enduring months of harassment from trainers.
  • Privacy – In conjunction with a strong push for a legislative remedy, we issued a detailed report warning of the dangers posed to family privacy by school district policies allowing administrators access to the microphones and cameras of school-loaned laptop computers.
  • Student Rights – In an egregious case of school police misconduct, we filed a lawsuit over a Pawtucket school resource officer’s unlawful handcuffing and arrest of a 13-year-old Black honors student.
  • Gender Equality - Our successful class-action lawsuit forced Brown University to reinstate two women’s varsity sports teams after the school cut the teams in violation of a 1998 consent agreement that forced it to comply with Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in school sports.

This is just a small sampling of our work in 2020 – and a glimpse of the impact your support can have.  For a fuller picture, click here.

If you haven’t already done so, we hope you will make a special year-end contribution today so that we can continue to defend civil liberties and advance justice and equality in the Ocean State in 2021.


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