Stories from the ACLU of Washington

Published: 
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Recently obtained documents show that the University of Washington Police Department authorized an officer to spy on, collect information about, and participate in meetings of the UW Student Worker Coalition, without any suspicion of criminal activity. The ACLU of Washington is working with the SWC to uncover the extent of surveillance, and to encourage the University to take the steps necessary to prevent suspicionless surveillance in the future.   Read more
Published: 
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I spent a week in Detroit attending workshops, plenaries, meeting lots of new people, and discussing ideas. This may sound like a typical conference, but the US Social Forum (USSF) is more than workshops and networking. The USSF is a movement building process where activists and advocates from across the country gather to share ideas, cultivate relationships for effective action, engage in dialogue on how to create "another world" - one that is free from racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of inequality and unfairness. Throughout the week, my activist spirit was rejuvenated and inspired – and the energy continues. Read more
Published: 
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The democratizing effect of the Internet is arguably its greatest feature, resulting in a revolutionary explosion of free speech and expression. But this effect recently came under fire in Viacom v. YouTube, a case affecting the fundamental framework of how content is created, disseminated and stored on line. Thankfully, by ruling that YouTube was covered by the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a U.S. District Court might have just saved the Internet as we know it. Read more
Published: 
Sunday, July 4, 2010
For our 4th of July BBQ, like many Americans, my family puts together a play list of Americana music.  Ours includes Frank Sinatra singing The House I Live In, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., and anything by Aaron Copland.  We hang our flag, one that once flew over the Capitol in Washington, DC - and decorate the chocolate cake with stars and stripes.  
Published: 
Friday, July 2, 2010
Utah’s June 18 execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner captured attention from around the world. Why is this newsworthy? The U.S. has taken the lives of over 1,000 individuals since 1976. Since that year, Gardner is only the third person in the U.S. executed by firing squad.
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
  Es costumbre que el cuatro de julio es un tiempo de celebrar la independencia estadounidense y nuestra libertad política con cuetes y carne asada.  Pero este año, hay un sentido mutua en nuestras comunidades que nuestra libertad y dignidad colectiva esta amenazada con la ley de discriminación racial de Arizona, SB 1070.  
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
    The Fourth of July is typically a time to celebrate our nation’s independence and our collective political freedom with fireworks and BBQs. However, this year many people, including myself, feel that our political freedom and dignity have been threatened by unfair legislation: Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070.    
Published: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Well, that settles it – government surveillance without suspicion is a costly endeavor. The case surrounding the false arrest of Phil Chinn –the Olympia activist targeted for surveillance based on his political associations – has come to a close. Unfortunately, a new ACLU report on political spying shows that coordinated efforts to target political activists for surveillance persist not only throughout Washington, but throughout the country.
Published: 
Monday, June 28, 2010
Last week, Seattle's weekly Stranger newspaper reported on the launch of a new meth outreach program: For 16 years, Seattle Counseling Service (SCS), an LGBT mental-health- and addiction-­counseling center, has focused its meth outreach on gay men. A month ago, the organization started something different: Women OUT, a weekly meth-abuse support group for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LBTQ) women. This is a good thing. Rates of current (past-month) use of methamphetamine by women and men have been equal in recent years. Why the previous focus on gay men? According to a 2004 report published by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and the National Coalition of STD Directors, evidence suggested that meth use increased the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior like unprotected sex. Well, yes, that shouldn't have surprised anyone.
Published: 
Friday, June 25, 2010
You might have thought that “debtors' prisons” were extinct. But people are still being jailed in Washington all too often simply because they can’t pay their court-ordered financial obligations in a criminal case. The Washington Supreme Court recently agreed with ACLU-WA that it is not fair to “automatically” send a person to jail for failure to pay these financial obligations, without a hearing to determine if the person has the ability to pay.

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