About Us

Advocate for Individual Rights through Litigation, Legislation and Community Action

For more than nine decades, the ACLU has led the fight for equal protection under the law for all people.  The San Diego ACLU has been the region’s civil rights advocate since 1933.

WHO IS THE ACLU?

We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that reaches out to and represents anyone whose fundamental freedoms have been violated. We are the largest organization defending civil rights and civil liberties in the world.

The ACLU protects American values and preserves American freedoms. Our job is to conserve America’s civic values – as expressed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – and defend these rights even when its unpopular to do so.

Protecting the freedoms of those with whom the majority disagrees or despises is the only way to keep those precious rights alive for future generations. Sticking up for the little guy is fundamental to preserving the integrity of our democracy.

HOW LARGE?

The ACLU’s work is sustained by more than 500,000 members and supporters who play an active role in defending freedom.

  • Nearly 200 ACLU staff attorneys and thousands of volunteer attorneys handle
    thousands of civil liberties cases every year.
  • Our legislative advocates are a constant presence on Capitol Hill and in state
    legislatures working on civil liberties issues.
  • The ACLU has staffed offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
  • In California, three affiliates based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and here in San Diego coordinate our work under the banner of the ACLU of California. Together, we have more than 130 staff members, 8 offices, including a legislative lobbying arm in Sacramento, and statewide issues-based projects on criminal justice reform, education equity, immigration reform, LGBT equality, privacy and technology, reproductive justice, and voting rights.

What does it mean to protect and defend fundamental freedoms for all? Here are just a few areas where the ACLU works hard to preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to everyone in this country:

  • Religious Freedom For All. Religious freedom is the right to practice the religion of one’s choice or no religion at all. The First Amendment protects religious freedom by keeping religion free from government interference or coercion.
    ACLU’s representation of the religious beliefs of Christians and non-Christians.
  • The American Flag. Our defense of free speech has included all kinds of speech, including the right of people to display the American flag. This may come to the surprise of some commentators, as blogger Conor Friedersdorf points out.
  • Defending Conservatives. Although our work to expand fair and equal treatment of the law to all—including women, African Americans, Latinos, lesbian, gay, and transgender people, and others—has led to the perception that the ACLU is liberal, we have stood up in countless cases for the rights of political conservatives, including such prominent figures as Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, and Senator Larry Craig. Click here to read a sampling.
  • LGBT Rights. Tom Homann, San Diego’s LGBT champion and corollary to Harvey Milk, declared, “Locally, there is virtually no other organization that has consistently litigated the whole range of gay and lesbian issues and supported our cause whenever we needed help, other than the ACLU…In San Diego, the ACLU has been the only story in town as far as legal action to protect our rights.”
    Read about our 70 years and counting defending the rights of LGBT Americans.
  • Immigrants’ Rights. As during other times in our nation’s history, the United
    States is in a major debate over immigrants and their place in our economic and
    political life. While the Bill of Rights doesn’t grant foreigners the right to enter the United States, once they are here, they’re entitled to certain broad constitutional protections. Read more about our work with immigrant communities.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all through education, litigation, & policy advocacy.