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Happy Birthday to the New York Resistance

By: Donna Lieberman Executive Director

One year ago, we geared up for the fight of our lives. Since that awful election day, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have teamed up with the NYCLU to achieve powerful victories. And during the past year together, we have shown that The Resistance is vast, it is deep, it is local and it is mobilized. 

Just yesterday, the NYCLU was instrumental in our victory at the polls. New Yorkers overwhelmingly defeated a state constitutional convention that would have put our entire state constitution up for repeal and replace.

Trump has vilified immigrants and Muslims, but we immediately headed to JFK Airport and the courts to halt Trump’s Muslim Ban. We also helped two Iranian students get back to New York to continue their studies after the original ban left them stranded.

We achieved new protections for Muslim New Yorkers against unlawful NYPD surveillance and we warned Jeff Sessions against jailing immigrant teens from Long Island based on flimsy evidence of gang-affiliation.

Trump and Sessions want to derail criminal justice reform, reversing the slow progress that’s been made toward curtailing mass incarceration. But this year, the NYCLU won state legislation to ensure the right to a lawyer for New Yorkers charged with crimes, achieved a 25 percent drop in New Yorkers in solitary confinement, and stopped a Syracuse jail from placing kids in solitary.

Trump rescinded guidance protecting trans students, but we pushed for new protections at home, stopped a Buffalo high school from discriminating against LGBTQ students, and served as grand marshal for New York City’s Pride parade.

And on a cold March day, we drew over a thousand New Yorkers to the state capitol to demand lawmakers stand up to the Trump agenda.

Now, as we mark a year of the New York Resistance, we are busier than ever:

Fighting for immigrants:

We’re suing Trump and Sessions for improperly jailing asylum-seekers who came here fleeing violence and persecution.

And we’re in court demanding organizing rights for New York’s immigrant farmworkers, who face inhumane work conditions and workplace retaliation that is more severe under Trump. Immigrants are especially vulnerable under Trump, and being able to organize would give them much needed protection.

Advancing criminal justice reform:

In New York this summer, President Trump said police should be “rough” with suspects. But we won’t tolerate unsafe policing in our state. We just sued the Syracuse police for placing a 15-year-old in a deadly chokehold. We are pushing the Right to Know Act in New York City, so officers announce themselves, the reason for a stop, and explain your right to refuse a search.

We’re also reporting on police transparency across the state and leading an interactive campaign in New York City for the kind of policing New Yorkers want.

Protecting our democracy:

Trump created a bogus voter fraud commission to limit ballot access. But we’re pushing to protect ballot access in New York with reforms like early voting, universal electronic registration and more manageable deadlines, and we submitted a brief in last month’s Supreme Court case challenging gerrymandering.

We won’t stop now.

With your help, we have leveraged a massive resistance to Trump in his home state. You have marched, called, emailed, signed, donated, volunteered and traveled to Albany with us – all to protect New York’s values, institutions, and people.

Today may be the anniversary of the greatest threat to civil liberties in our lifetime, but it is also the first birthday of the New York Resistance.

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union