Annual Report 2021 - 2022
I am honored to share our 2021-2022 Year End Report, featuring illustrations from a California artist and Los Angeles-based illustrator, Ketu Ikediuba. Your steadfast support has allowed the ACLU rise to meet the biggest challenges of our time, fighting for civil rights and civil liberties in Southern California and nationwide. This year has often been painful.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, with devastating results—especially for Black women and girls. Voting rights, freedom of speech, and the rights of LGBTQ+ people are under siege. Our democracy feels fragile, its future uncertain. Yet, thanks to your partnership, the ACLU today is stronger and nimbler than ever before.
We are equipped to face the most powerful opponents and protect the most vulnerable people. Beyond our defensive efforts, we continue to achieve proactive wins, vindicating the rights of our clients and their communities while helping to reshape unjust systems.
As you read on, I hope you feel especially proud of all we have built together in Southern California, where our victories not only impact tens of millions of people but reverberate throughout the country as models for change.
In addition to the highlights in this report, your partnership has fueled critical wins on:
FIGHTING FOR ABORTION RIGHTS
The ACLU helped defeat an anti-abortion ballot measure in Kansas, demonstrating the public’s support for abortion access—and the power of our movement. We also led a groundbreaking ballot-measure campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan State Constitution. We launched a midterms campaign spotlighting reproductive rights and encouraging Americans to vote their values. In California, we championed a ballot measure to make our state a haven for abortion access. Nationwide, the ACLU won 28 voting rights victories in 21 states, blocked more than 20 abortion bans and restrictions, fought to reunite separated families, secured the release of more than 48,000 vulnerable people from prisons and jails during the pandemic, and won landmark Supreme Court rulings protecting student free speech and establishing that employers can’t fire people for being gay or transgender. Now is the time to redouble our efforts. We must not only fight to defend fundamental rights whenever they are attacked, but also to advance our own ambitious agenda for necessary systemic change. With your support, we will seize the opportunities ahead to create a freer and more just nation.
PROTECTING VOTING RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
From Georgia, to Pennsylvania, to Texas, the ACLU went to court to curb voter suppression and gerrymandering, while shoring up election administration by recruiting poll workers, building alliances with pro-democracy election officials, and educating voters about key Secretary of State and State Supreme Court races. Our nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts helped voters understand what was at stake this midterm election. In Southern California, we challenged discriminatory maps at the local level—establishing Orange County’s first Latinx-majority supervisorial district and suing on behalf of Latinx voters in Riverside County.
DEFENDING AND EXPANDING LGBTQ+ RIGHTS
The ACLU is fighting back against attacks on the lives and dignity of LGBTQ+ people, suing to block laws such as Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care, Florida’s gag rule censoring classroom discussions, and Texas’ cruel policy of investigating the families of transgender youth. In California, we continue to expand LGBTQ+ rights in health care, jails and prisons, and schools—for instance, by ensuring that schools provide inclusive sex education and respect the rights of transgender and nonbinary students.
DEMANDING TRUE PUBLIC SAFETY
Throughout the country, the ACLU continues to champion policies to stop police abuse, end mass incarceration, and create true public safety for all. In Los Angeles County, this November we secured a historic ballot measure victory which will increase accountability for the sheriff. We also recently won an emergency court order requiring the county to fix the horrific conditions at its Inmate Reception Center—the entry point for the nation’s largest jail system. Conditions at the center included lack of access to clean water and people with mental illnesses being chained to chairs for days.
As we continue to confront the forces of white supremacy, misogyny, and nativism, we must remain energized and fully committed. Your ongoing and increased investment ensures that the ACLU can hold the line for democracy, move the needle for civil rights and civil liberties, and realize our shared vision of a truly just society. Thank you for your continued partnership.
Hector O. Villagra