ACLU of Illinois

Operating as usual

The overuse of police in our nation's schools: ⚠️ Disproportionately harms students of color and with disabilities ⚠️ Cr...
12/28/2020
The Biden Administration’s Disability Rights To-Do List

The overuse of police in our nation's schools:
⚠️ Disproportionately harms students of color and with disabilities
⚠️ Criminalizes normal childhood behavior
⚠️ Funnels students into the school-to-prison pipeline.
It's time for change.

When President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris take office, their administration must act quickly to protect the rights of and promote opportunities for people with disabilities.

ICYMI: We are taking a look back at our posts from the year. Here's is a blog written by Topps discussing their experien...
12/22/2020
“Crisis Creates Opportunity”: My Experience at this Year’s Virtual ACLU Advocacy Institute

ICYMI: We are taking a look back at our posts from the year. Here's is a blog written by Topps discussing their experience at this year’s virtual ACLU National Advocacy Institute.

As I opened my computer and prepared to click on the Zoom link for this year’s ACLU National Advocacy Institute, I felt very anxious about what was to come. Automatically muting my mic and deciding on whether or not to show my face or just my profile picture, I was greeted by this amazing voice. T...

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: Since the 1970’s, the steep increase in Illinois’ incarcerated po...
12/17/2020
The Sad Truth About “Truth in Sentencing” Laws in Illinois

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: Since the 1970’s, the steep increase in Illinois’ incarcerated population has been driven primarily not by any rise in crime, but by the drastic escalation in the length of sentences imposed by elected officials. Perhaps no single policy has caused the length of prison stays to balloon more than so-called “truth in sentencing” laws, which place arbitrary restrictions on people’s ability to earn time off their sentences. Illinois needs to stop using expensive and ineffective surveillance tools that set people up to fail. It is time to give up the false promises of “truth in sentencing” laws, and focus instead on meeting the housing, education, and employment needs of formerly incarcerated people and their communities.

Since the 1970’s, the steep increase in Illinois’ incarcerated population has been driven primarily not by any rise in crime, but by the drastic escalation in the length of sentences imposed by elected officials.

Earlier this year, Chicago created a Use-of-Force Working Group comprised of community members and advocates from across...
12/17/2020
Tell the Chicago Police Department to Adopt the Community-Based Solutions to Police Violence

Earlier this year, Chicago created a Use-of-Force Working Group comprised of community members and advocates from across the City. The Working Group forged a set of 155 urgent recommendations to remedy 8 current policies that fail to adequately constrain Chicago police use of force. However, CPD refused to accept any of the core community recommendations—recommendations that would reduce police violence and save lives.
https://www.aclu-il.org/en/tell-chicago-police-department-adopt-community-based-solutions-police-violence

Earlier this year, the City of Chicago created a Use-of-Force Working Group comprised of community members and advocates from across the City. Members of the Working Group spent months studying Chicago Police Department (CPD) Use-of-Force policies, researching best practices from across the country....

From our Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Khadine Bennett in Crain's Chicago Business: "The Mayor show...
12/16/2020
Chicago's budget is balanced on the backs of workers

From our Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Khadine Bennett in Crain's Chicago Business: "The Mayor showed this week that the city can find a way to negotiate with those who owe the city money. But one should not have to own a professional sports team in order to receive special treatment from the City of Chicago. The explosion of fines and fees will have a predictable effect – it will bury millions of people under mountains of debt. Those who cannot immediately pay face harsh collection tactics, including the seizure and impoundment of their vehicles. We all are going to have to work together to address the economic needs of our city. It must not fall just on the backs of those with the least means."

While large business interests are getting a break, the city is instituting new traffic fees as a revenue-raising measure that will disproportionately affect those with the least means, writes Khadine Bennett, ACLU of Illinois.

For a century, the American Civil Liberties Union has fought to keep Americans in touch with the founding values of the ...
12/14/2020
Celebrating 100 Years of the ACLU

For a century, the American Civil Liberties Union has fought to keep Americans in touch with the founding values of the Constitution. In this episode of Talking Liberties, we speak with Ellis Cose, the author who literally wrote the book on the subject - Democracy, If We Can Keep It: The ACLU’s 100-Year Fight for Rights in America, who takes us through the series of monumental events and decisions that forged the ACLU into the organization it is today. Listen in here or wherever you get your podcasts:

LISTEN ON: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Soundcloud | Spotify | Stitcher

Democracy persists.
12/12/2020

Democracy persists.

12/11/2020
ACLU

This is the story of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots. Several officers tased and beat him while others stood by and watched. Four officers were charged with excessive use of force. The next year, the officers were acquitted. The verdict sent shock waves through South Central Los Angeles.

Several officers tased and beat him while others stood by and watched. Four officers were charged with excessive use of force. They next year the officers were acquitted. The verdict sent shock waves through South Central Los Angeles.

This is the story of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots.

Contract Tracing: there’s a right way and a wrong way. When used correctly, it can be a public health tool that helps sl...
12/10/2020

Contract Tracing: there’s a right way and a wrong way. When used correctly, it can be a public health tool that helps slow down the spread of COVID-19 by warning people if they’ve been exposed, even if they aren’t showing symptoms. When used incorrectly, it oversteps our civil liberties and shares your private medical information with multiple government – or private – agencies. This FAQ helps explain contact tracing and provides a roadmap for public officials to get contact tracing right and better protect our privacy during this ongoing pandemic. If you are interested in a training, please contact us at [email protected].

https://www.aclu-il.org/en/news/understanding-methods-used-and-privacy-concerns-contact-tracing

The federal judge overseeing the consent decree designed to reform the Chicago Police Department reminded officers this ...
12/09/2020

The federal judge overseeing the consent decree designed to reform the Chicago Police Department reminded officers this week that they need to wear masks when they interact with residents to protect against spreading COVID-19.

The Muslim Ban is STILL intact — and families are hurting each day because of it.
12/07/2020

The Muslim Ban is STILL intact — and families are hurting each day because of it.

DACA is here to stay. Dreamers are here to stay. A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration must fully rest...
12/05/2020

DACA is here to stay. Dreamers are here to stay. A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration must fully restore DACA, including through the acceptance of new applications. This is news worth celebrating!

BREAKING: The House just held a historic vote on the MORE Act, marking the first time in its history that the institutio...
12/04/2020

BREAKING: The House just held a historic vote on the MORE Act, marking the first time in its history that the institution has voted on ending cannabis prohibition. The MORE Act is the most comprehensive cannabis reform bill in Congress. Guided by reparative and social justice principles, it would decriminalize cannabis, expunge prior cannabis convictions, and invest in communities that have been targeted for 50 years by the war on drugs. #EndTheWarOnDrugs

12/04/2020
Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr.

Our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell joined Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. and additional advocates for this virtual town hall on what we can do to support reforming the criminal legal system.

Join us and share YOUR input on how we should approach criminal justice reform, including sentencing, bail and drug penalties reform. We have with us Kathy Saltmarsh from SPAC, Ben Ruddell from the ACLU Illinois, Sharone Mitchell from the Illinois Justice Project and Dr. Joseph Strickland of UIC. Write your questions, comments and concerns in the comments below.

The ACLU is still looking for the parents of 628 children, and we'll keep fighting until every last family is reunited.
12/03/2020

The ACLU is still looking for the parents of 628 children, and we'll keep fighting until every last family is reunited.

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: "Every crime is different, and every individual charged with an o...
12/03/2020
Illinois Needs to Eliminate “One-Size-Fits-All” Mandatory Minimums in Sentencing

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: "Every crime is different, and every individual charged with an offense is different. Judges, not the legislature, should be responsible for determining individual sentences for people found guilty of crimes. It is time for Illinois legislators to do away with harmful minimum sentencing laws and give judges the flexibility they need to better serve their communities."

Right now, mandatory minimum sentencing laws are extremely punitive to people in Illinois and routinely deny judges in our state the flexibility to craft individualized sentences.

From WBEZ and ProPublica Illinois: Of the many issues investigated here, it is clear the the Prison Litigation Reform Ac...
12/02/2020
From Roaches To Medical Emergencies, Illinois Inmates Say ‘There’s Nobody That We Can Really Go To For Help’

From WBEZ and ProPublica Illinois: Of the many issues investigated here, it is clear the the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) has been a failure, and has made prison grievance systems worse and impossible to navigate. In Illinois, the Department of Corrections reduced the window of time within which prisoners can file most grievances, limited outside oversight of appeals, and eliminated a rule that required at least one review board member to come from outside the department.

Prisoners rely on the so-called grievance system to report dangerous conditions, including abuse. In Illinois, the system is broken.

This #WorldAIDSDay, we recognize and honor those lost, and those who continue to lead the fight to eliminate the stigma ...
12/01/2020

This #WorldAIDSDay, we recognize and honor those lost, and those who continue to lead the fight to eliminate the stigma behind HIV.

In the face of everything 2020 had to throw at us, ACLU Guardians of Liberty enabled us to keep going, no matter what. A...
12/01/2020

In the face of everything 2020 had to throw at us, ACLU Guardians of Liberty enabled us to keep going, no matter what. As we look to the fights ahead, we know we'll need your help to keep winning. Become a month supporter this #GivingTuesday at https://action.aclu.org/give/illinois-join-renew-today

Democracy matters. Everyone counts. Today, the ACLU at the Supreme Court, virtually. Trump’s presidency may end in Janua...
11/30/2020

Democracy matters. Everyone counts. Today, the ACLU at the Supreme Court, virtually. Trump’s presidency may end in January, but his attack on the census, and attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants, would impact the US for a decade. We’re fighting back.

"Imagine starting a new job, being glad to have health insurance coverage, and then realizing the prescriptions you've b...
11/30/2020
Springfield woman files charges against city, calling their insurance plan 'anti-transgender'

"Imagine starting a new job, being glad to have health insurance coverage, and then realizing the prescriptions you've been on for years aren't covered by the plan because of who you are," said Josh Blecher-Cohen, ACLU of IL legal fellow. "The discrimination is unfair. In this day and age, it shouldn't be tolerated."

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Legal Fellow with the ACLU, Josh Blecher-Cohen, said his client, Kate Holt, was first employed by the city of Springfield in February of 2020.

On Thanksgiving take these simple steps.
11/26/2020

On Thanksgiving take these simple steps.

Thanksgiving may look different this year for many of us, but you can still decolonize this holiday with a few simple steps.

Native Americans, the original inhabitants of our nation's land, couldn't vote in Kansas until 1924. And in New Mexico, ...
11/25/2020

Native Americans, the original inhabitants of our nation's land, couldn't vote in Kansas until 1924. And in New Mexico, not until 1948. The first Native American US congresswomen, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, now represent communities in both of these states.

Kate Holt was denied coverage for medication prescribed by her physician - medication covered for other employees who ar...
11/24/2020

Kate Holt was denied coverage for medication prescribed by her physician - medication covered for other employees who are not transgender - after she was employed by the City of Springfield. Our client repeatedly raised this issue with those responsible for managing the employee insurance plan and was repeatedly rebuffed. The denial is a clear violation of Illinois’ Human Rights Act, and the City of Springfield needs to respect and follow the law of Illinois. For more info, go to: https://www.aclu-il.org/en/news/springfield-woman-files-charge-challenging-citys-anti-transgender-employee-insurance-plan

11/23/2020
The Fight Is Far From Over

Last week we hosted a virtual town hall on the results of the 2020 election and the continued fight for civil liberties and rights nationwide. This event was the final event in Vote Like Your Rights Depend On It: 2020 Election Series in partnership with Weinberg/Newton Gallery
https://youtu.be/f8oCdW5n7Cw

On November 18, 2020 the ACLU of Illinois held a panel discussion focusing on the results of the 2020 election and the continued fight for civil liberties an...

As #TransgenderAwarenessWeek comes to a close, we sat down with our LGBTQ and HIV Project Director John Knight to look a...
11/22/2020

As #TransgenderAwarenessWeek comes to a close, we sat down with our LGBTQ and HIV Project Director John Knight to look at the big picture regarding the fight for transgender rights here at home and across the country for this episode of TALKING LIBERTIES. Listen in here or wherever you get your podcasts: https://www.aclu-il.org/en/fight-protect-transgender-rights

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: "Illinois still sends too many people to prison - and gives too m...
11/20/2020
To Keep People Out of its Overcrowded Prisons, Illinois Must Reclassify Its Drug and Property Crimes

From our Criminal Justice Policy Director Ben Ruddell: "Illinois still sends too many people to prison - and gives too many people felony records that follow them for life - for crimes that are often just the symptoms of poverty, addiction, and mental illness. Even after a person finishes their sentence, having a felony record means that they will continue to face severe stigma, including numerous restrictions on access to employment, housing, education, and other crucial resources."

Illinois still sends too many people to prison - and gives too many people felony records that follow them for life - for crimes that are often just the symptoms of poverty, addiction, and mental illness.

Thank you to One Illinois for the nice wrap-up of our “The Fight Is Far From Over" town hall last evening!
11/19/2020
ACLU looks ahead to post-Trump era — 1IL

Thank you to One Illinois for the nice wrap-up of our “The Fight Is Far From Over" town hall last evening!

Fair Tax failure risks enforcement of reforms, revival of regressive penalties, fees

11/19/2020
ACLU

ACLU

Eisha Love was incarcerated in a men's jail after acting in self-defense.

Now, she is rebuilding her life, starting with finding community and gaining employment.

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Single premiere via The Deli Magazine: 50% of Tautologic's proceeds from Bandcamp "That's What I Hear" downloads will be donated to the ACLU.
There is a long, 2-page piece of paper which is a collection of Illinois statues regarding bail and other topocs, that is required by law to be posted and accessible in every area of the jail which inmates are "kept in", such as every tier of cells, every individual cell in solitary confinement areas, and the area where prisoners are kept before going to a tier. This is usually printed on 2 pages of yellow, extra-long paper in the jail and is outside the cage before going to a tier and is not readable at all. Additionally, offocers usually scream and threaten anyone who gets up to attempt to read it at any time. During more then three different kodnappings of the times when I was kidnapped by subsidaries of U.S., I askes numerous Cook County Jail employees multiple times every single day to bring me this paper, which was not posted anywhere else in the jail. As a resulf of not having access to this paper, I was kept in the kidnapping location, which is Cook County Jail, numerous additional weeks (in at least one case) and months (in ateast one case), and was forced to "plead guilty" to a case because of illegally using monetary bond, in ehich I committed nor crime and acted contrary to no statues, because I was not allowed to have access to any legal information due to being held in this kidnapping location, and I also could not protest this kidnapping due to being unable to access this piece of paper which lists certian statutes that are mamdstory by law. I was also unable to eat food during this most recent time of kidnapping because all of the food contained massive amounts of soy. I was also not allowed to speak to anyone who can remove the soy from the things they give inmates which they refer to as good, even after numerous weeks. As a result of being forced to plead guilty, I was unable to rescue my son, youger the age 5, from abuse at the hands of an abusive relative who illegally obtained a restraining order after lying to police and going to court alone to lie further. This woman has numerous evidence against her manipulation using ridiculous reasons to use a court system, but the illegal arrst that was made to me before the kidnapping in which the jail does not have this yellow paper on the wall as they are required by statutes to do, causes this case to be convicted because I was not allowed to collect the argument to have it correctly dismissed, regardless of being told me numerous BAR members that dismissal of the case is nearly guaranteed, and is required to therefore remove the illegal court action that was done against me by the relative and without being allowed to ever go in a courtroom in regards to that.
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The Town Hall today was extraordinary. It was so interesting and so inspiring. THANK YOU Anthony Romer and all of you.
Job seekers and businesses are invited to PRIDE in Our Workforce, a discussion on LGBTQ+ Employment and Engagement. 🏳️‍🌈 There will be 3 hiring employers who are either LGBTQ+ owned or an ally, they will discuss job openings and their experiences. 🏳️‍🌈 Businesses are invited to learn about the LGBT Chamber of Commerce services, work being done for the LGBTQ+ community, and DCEO will provide details on the BIG Program. All are welcome, we hope to connect with you tomorrow: https://lgbtworkforcepride.eventbrite.com
I need some help figuring out why an elected official keeps deleting my comments?
BLACK LIVES MATTER I just read this article on murder of Michael Williams. I looked at one of his killers page and saw his last post 9-14-20. I wonder if he was profiled and pushed by HAARP to kill Michael Williams. It's ironic because I will not drive my car right now because I fear it will explode because of my posts. Then I saw this news story. This is how they communicate.I have been watching for quite some time and that is why I started my page. Four Grinnell residents are in custody and facing charges in the homicide death of 44-year-old Michael Williams. Williams' body was found the afternoon of Sept. 16 in a ditch in rural Kellogg, after it had been set on fire. The Kellogg Fire Department and Jasper County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and found the body after the fire had been extinguished. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation began helping with the case and ruled the death a homicide. Law enforcement officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon where DCI Special Agent Adam DeCamp announced the arrest of Steven A. Vogel, 31, and charged him with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. Vogel was already in custody at the Marshall County Jail on an unrelated charge. Also arrested were Julia A. Cox, 55; Roy L. Garner, 57; and Cody J. Johnson, 29. Cox and Garner were charged with two counts of destruction of evidence, abuse of a corpse and accessory after the fact. Johnson was charged with one count of destruction of evidence and abuse of a corpse and accessory after the fact. Those three are being held at Poweshiek County Jail. Black Lives MATTER, please take the time to educate yourself how the race has been being slaughtered. Watch the video on Supporter's of Nick Begich page with HAARP technology. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Wake up Brothers and Sisters. Go to my page to see more examples of how people are being slaughtered through this technology.
I'm having an issue with my Illinois State Representative deleting every comment from me on his page? I am not using bad language. It's the same question and as soon as it's posted, it's deleted. I have called, emailed and messaged, but I get no answer from the Rep. What do I do now? I though that Politician's were not allowed to do that?
This is a page of my Illinois state representative in the 107th district. He clearly posts from it as his own page as a public official. He has blocked me from commenting because of opposing views. This is ruled upon, deliberate violation of my first amendment rights. Is there anyone on here that can help with this?
We need to spend more money and improve the post office, not cut back.
The 17-year-old boy, Kyle Rittenhouse, takes a rifle to Kenosha, Wisconsin to defend what??? The police give him and other so-called white militia bottles of water. The police never challenged Rittenhouse by saying, "Son, how old are you? Show me your I.D., son. Hey, you're a 17-year-old, why are you carrying a rifle? Why aren't you home? Why are you out disobeying curfew because we police officers can handle this?" No, the cops "sanctioned" Rittenhouse and other "pure" white defenders of "justice and truth" against those horrible protesting MOB who are all looters, arsonists, and vandals. Why not stereotype all protestors? The only ones who are holy and sanctified protestors are white militia and Trump supporters. Right? WRONG! Rittenhouse was NOT supposed to be out with a rifle at his age...illegal he's not 18. Then he's supposed to be defending property from looters and vandals. BUT that's not his freaking job!!! He's not a law enforcer! What is Rittenhouse a junior G-man...a pretend law enforcer like the white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery??? And Trump supporters (some of them) think he's a "hero?" Did he defend himself? Who attacked Rittenhouse? Are you serious??? He's not a police officer or part of the National Guard. At 17, this prick should have been home watching Bugs Bunny, Law & Order SVU, Gunsmoke, Star Trek, Americas Got Talent, Netflix, or whatever! Is anyone saying that this 17-year-old was attacked? Did Rittenhouse shoot at those trying to vandalize a store OR set a business on fire??? But that's not his job! He went out there looking to shoot someone! And he murdered 2 people. Rittenhouse is a vigilante that watched too many superhero movies and dispises the Black Lives Matter Movement. The police chief of Kenosha should be fired AND that 17-year-old found GUILTY of 2 murders and one attempted murder... Kyle Rittenhouse should get at least 30 years in prison!