July is ACLU PRIDE Month!

SAN DIEGO – The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is taking some unusual steps in July to demonstrate its significance in the fight to protect American values and fundamental freedoms for all.

“We’re trying some things we’ve never tried before,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the San Diego ACLU. “We want to demonstrate that standing up for your rights and the rights of others is staunchly in the tradition of our founders. I have not a doubt in the world that the vast majority of our founders would be card-carrying ACLU members.”

The organization is posting two billboards in Hillcrest that posit that the themes of patriotism and defense of civil liberties are complementary. The ACLU will be giving away an iPad for all new subscribers to the group’s e-newsletter. One of the billboards highlights that campaign. [Read contest rules.] Sign up here for News and Action and chance to win a free iPad!

The San Diego ACLU also invited Facebook phenomenon and ACLU client Constance McMillen to lead its contingent in this year’s Pride Parade on July 17, 2010. Constance was the high school senior from Mississippi who wanted to bring her girlfriend to prom, but was told by school officials that this wouldn’t be allowed. Even worse, her classmates’ parents organized a “decoy” prom for Constance and a real prom for their kids. More than 400,000 fans joined her Facebook page.

Because she didn’t get the prom she merited, the San Diego ACLU is throwing Constance a prom party on July 18, 2010. Hosted at a private home, the ACLU is inviting guests to help Constance experience the most fun aspects of prom, with music from all eras, prom-themed decorations, and many guests who suffered some of the same kinds of slights she and her date did.

“I never thought in a thousand billion years there would be that many people supporting something that I was doing,” said Constance McMillen in a videotaped thank you message to the ACLU. “I think it’s great that there’s that many people out there that understand the difference between wrong and right. I think you should stand up for what you believe in, stand up for who you are.”

The ACLU will be working throughout the month to sign up new members. [Join here! New members in July get a free ACLU t-shirt!] Activists will be out in force during Pride weekend, and throughout the month in front of neighborhood grocery stores and shopping malls.

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ACLU Pride T-Shirt

Pride t-shirt photo.pdf