ACLU-DE Rolls Out an Ambitious, Proactive Strategic Plan

Recently, the Board of Directors and staff of the ACLU of Delaware completed the first segment of an updated strategic plan. It is ambitious, focused and impressive, if I do say so myself.

Unequivocally, our first priority is to respond effectively to attacks on civil liberties as they arise. That’s why our legal department has taken on cases ranging from the student who was kicked out of school for her pink hair, to suing local police departments for abuse of authority, to our recent tussle with the Cape Henlopen School Board for censoring a book with a lesbian protagonist. But to truly challenge government overreach, we need to identify systemic problems that impact a broad swath of people and envision solutions. We need a proactive agenda, and that is what our updated plan provides.

The ACLU-DE board has identified three overarching strategic priorities for the next 3-5 years: equal access to quality education for all, criminal justice reform and an open and vibrant democracy. But the meat that is on those bones is what is most significant.

When it comes to our democracy, we want same day voter registration, early voting and to broaden the state’s Freedom of Information Act. With prison reform, we have made it a priority to improve conditions for inmates with mental illness, reduce the rate of sexual assault in men’s prisons and continue our fight to repeal the death penalty.

In the area of criminal justice, our focus is on reducing incarceration: decriminalizing marijuana, challenging policies that jail people because they are poor and promoting change at the Public Defender’s Office so they have adequate resources to provide defense services that meet ABA standards.

When it comes to our schools, we are prepared to challenge the racial and economic stratification that has resulted from school choice and the charter school movement, and we are organizing the community to work with local schools to reduce excessive suspensions and the disparate impact of those suspensions.

The ACLU strives to be the premier civil liberties and civil rights organization in Delaware. With this plan to guide us, I believe that we come closer to achieving that mission every day.

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