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Annual Report: 60 Years of Fighting for Civil Liberties (2011)


The New York Civil Liberties Union’s 60th anniversary is both a milestone and a marker in our ongoing commitment to preserve and protect our democracy. Since its founding in 1951, the NYCLU has helped shape our society and made a difference in people’s lives. Over the past 60 years the NYCLU has:

  • Contested the witch hunts and loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era and protected the right to protest
  • Stopped school censorship and ended forced prayer in the public schools
  • Challenged the constitutionality of the Vietnam War and fought for the right to publish the Pentagon Papers
  • Fought for legal abortion three years before Roe v. Wade and for HIV/AIDs and sex education in schools
  • Won reforms in New York’s draconian Rockefeller drug laws
  • Revealed racial disparities in the NYPD’s massive stop-and-frisk program targeting innocent New Yorkers
  • Exposed and challenged government abuse, including warrantless surveillance and torture at Guantanamo.

And we continue to change lives. In 2011, the NYCLU played a major role in momentous human rights victories:

  • The passage of the Marriage Equality Act, guaranteeing same-sex couples the freedom to marry in New York State
  • The order by NYPD’s top brass halting certain types of low-level marijuana arrests
  • The suspension of New York State’s participation in Secure Communities, a federal deportation program that tears families apart and encourages racial profiling
  • The guarantee of the rights of immigrant children to enroll in public school, ensured in Department of Justice guidelines, regardless of their status.
As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
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Civil Liberties Union