LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —  The ACLU of Arkansas will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month as membership in the iconic civil rights organization continues to grow. The number of card-carrying ACLU of Arkansas members has more than doubled since 2016, and the organization now boasts nearly 3,000 members and thousands more supporters. The ACLU of Arkansas will celebrate its achievements and thank its supporters at a special anniversary bash on November 14th in Little Rock. 

“We’ve come a long way over the last half century – but the march for justice and equality is far from finished,” said ACLU of Arkansas interim executive director and legal director Holly Dickson. “Today our work is more important than ever. As we celebrate our 50th year of freedom fighting, Arkansans can depend on us to continue to fiercely and fearlessly defend their constitutional rights. Freedom can’t defend itself. It takes all of us: donating, advocating, marching, litigating, and, above all, daring to create a more perfect union.”

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the ACLU of Arkansas is the statewide affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties guaranteed by our nation’s Bill of Rights.

“Over the years, we’ve safeguarded the freedom of speech, religious liberty and the right to privacy; we advanced criminal justice reforms and LGBTQ equality; we’ve battled to protect students’ rights, voting rights, and immigrants’ rights; and we’ve blocked unconstitutional abortion bans and restrictions,” said Mike Cobb, ACLU of Arkansas Board President. “Today, thanks to our dedicated members and supporters, the ACLU of Arkansas is more committed than ever to defending the rights the Constitution guarantees to everyone within our borders.” 

The ACLU of Arkansas was founded in 1969 by a group of forward-looking civil rights advocates and lawyers including: Dr. Rosalind Abernathy, Herbert Bingaman, Dick Bennett, Jack Bodie, Rev. Fred Campbell, Elijah Coleman, Rev. Cecil Cone, Fred Darragh, Jr., Ernie Dumas, Morton Gitelman, John Norman Harkey, Phil Kaplan, Ted Lamb, Jack Lavey, Guerdon Nichols, Rabbi Zeke Palnick, Jim Ranchino, Betty Siegel, John P. Sizemore, Samuel Sizer, Lyell Thompson, Jim Guy Tucker, John Walker, Jim Youngdahl, and Otto “Bud” Zinke. 

Since then, the organization has been on the forefront of nearly every civil rights battle in the state over the past 50 years: safeguarding the freedom of speech, religious liberty and the right to privacy; advancing criminal justice reforms and LGBTQ equality; battling to protect students’ rights, voting rights and immigrants’ rights; and blocking unconstitutional abortion bans and restrictions. 

A timeline of 50 of the organization’s accomplishments over the past 50 years is available at: https://www.acluarkansas.org/en/aclu-arkansas-50-greatest-hits-1969-2019 

To celebrate its 50 years of work those who have led the fight for fairness and liberty across the state, the ACLU of Arkansas is holding a celebratory bash on November 14, 2019 at Union Station in Little Rock. Tickets are available on the ACLU of Arkansas website at: https://www.acluarkansas.org/

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