This post is part of our Winter 2017 issue of Connection, our quarterly newsletter. To read the whole newsletter, click here.
It’s been a year since the Presidential election and so far we’ve survived the whirlwind, if barely. The ACLU both nationally and locally has responded forcefully to the administration’s assault on our rights and liberties and we’ve had quite a bit of success slowing down and pushing back against their agenda.
The other silver lining to Trump’s election is your response. People throughout this country, including long-standing and new ACLU members, have joined the resistance. You have taken action and you’ve supported the ACLU and other critical organizations with your financial resources. Thank you! I feel more hopeful today than I did a year ago.
Amazingly, Delaware ACLU membership has more than tripled in the past year. We are now over 4,000 strong! To support that growth and to respond more fully to the civil liberties challenges here in Delaware, the professional capacity and staff of the organization has also grown. We’ve added a communications manager, Morgan Keller, and an operations and administrative coordinator (who is also a great organizer), Angela Walker Harris. Both Morgan and Angela will help ACLU-DE better connect with our membership and get you more involved in our work.
But adding staff isn’t the only transition we’re experiencing. In November, Legal Director Richard Morse moved from the ACLU to Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI). I can’t overstate the impact Rich’s seven years with the organization has had on our legal work. He directly improved the lives of thousands of Delawareans because he successfully brought lawsuits, wrote letters, reviewed state regulation and spoke to the media about our work in a new way.
Rich’s successes range from small but important wins to game changing institutional policy transformation. Think the Baylor prison rape case win that has saved hundreds of women from sexual assault or the settlement of the solitary confinement case. Recall the decision in the Red Clay Consolidated School District voting case. Already, school tax referenda throughout the state follow election law and are fairer to all segments of the community.
Rich’s work has also led to improved police training and accountability, fair treatment for transgender students and students with disabilities in school, and protection of free speech rights whether it be for pink hair, the confederate flag, speaking at a Sussex County Council meeting, Occupy Delaware or preventing a school from banning certain books. Thank you Rich! We look forward to seeing what you can accomplish next.