ACLU: Protecting American Values and Fundamental Freedoms for All

We invite you to take pride in protecting fundamental American values of freedom, fairness, and equality for all by becoming a proud card-carrying member of the ACLU. Our work sticking up for the little guy is part of a great American tradition.

The ACLU works daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the rights and freedoms our founders guaranteed in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the laws of the United States.

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.

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.

We have been at the forefront of protecting freedom and fairness since our founding in 1920.
Teaching evolution.
Censorship of James Joyce’s Ulysses
Japanese Internment

and more recently,
restoring the balance of powers, which swung too far to the Executive Branch in past years and trying to uncover the whole truth and seek accountability for torture, Guantanamo, rendition, and domestic spying
opposing Arizona’s racial profiling law
protecting our most vulnerable
helping students find their voice and stand up for what they believe in
– helping all students gain access to quality education

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 of the Bill of Rights protects religious freedom by keeping religion free from government interference or coercion. Read about 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.


It boils down to this: Joining the ACLU is the single best way to take pride in protecting fundamental American values of freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

Other reasons include:
– For the sixth consecutive year, the ACLU has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities.
– The ACLU also meets the highest standards of The Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.
– Your support goes to helping our advocacy on the most urgent issues and cases.
– Your membership entitles to you the famous ACLU membership card so you can be a proud card-carrier.
– Your membership also entitles you to newsletters from the local and national ACLU, as well as invitations to special events.
– And, in July 2011, there’s an extra incentive for joining the San Diego ACLU: New members who join by July 31 will receive a free ACLU Pride t-shirt!

Thank you for supporting the protection of freedom, fairness, and equality for all.