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Blog

We can be pretty sure that each new day will bring two things: new threats to our civil liberties, and new stories of people standing up for their rights and winning. Behind every court ruling is a person. Behind every landmark law is a movement. Read the stories and hear the voices that ground our work.

Fighting for Black Trans Women this Pride and Beyond

Jun 28, 2019
This Pride weekend, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, let’s march, let’s celebrate, let’s party. But first let us remember today and always that the lives of Black trans people, and specifically the lives of Black trans women, matter. Let’s recognize and memorialize the great social, political, and civil rights gains achieved over the past 50 years by Black and Latin... Read More

Lack of Voter Participation, Not Fraud, Real Problem in California Elections

Jun 21, 2019
Every four years when there is a presidential primary, many voters who decline to state a party preference are surprised when their mail-in ballot arrives and it is missing the presidential candidates. They then scramble to get a replacement, which can result in one voter receiving two ballots. Elections officials in Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties have alleged that they discovered 191 ca... Read More

Lessons from Juneteenth, Our Continued Fight for Freedom

Jun 19, 2019
Two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Black people in Galveston, Texas were told that they were free. Juneteenth is widely celebrated as “Freedom Day.” Yet is commemorating this date when Black folks belatedly got the news that they could legally no longer be enslaved really the best way to mark their freedom? I often struggle with what it means to be f... Read More

H.R. 40 Is Not a Symbolic Act. It’s a Path to Restorative Justice.

Jun 17, 2019
For nearly three decades, my former colleague Rep. John Conyers of Michigan would introduce H.R. 40, legislation seeking to establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals. Though many thought it a lost cause, he believed that a day would come when our nation would need to account for the brutal mistreatment of African Americans during chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and th... Read More

America, It Is Time to Talk About Reparations

Jun 17, 2019
We are two months away from the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved people arriving in what would become the United States of America. It is time to renew the public discussion about reparations to descendants of Africans who were enslaved as our country was forming and growing rich.  First as colonies and then as a nation, America has existed longer with slavery (1619-1865: 246 years) than... Read More

Records Reveal ICE Agents Run Thousands of License Plate Queries a Month in Massive Location Database

Jun 05, 2019
On February 27, 2018, at 4:54 p.m., a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent typed a query into a database of driver locations collected by automated license plate readers across the United States. The license plate database returned nine results. As an explanation for why ICE was searching the database, the agent gave the following reason: "ADMINISTRATIVE SPOUSE OF TARGET" This was ... Read More

Know Your Rights: Abortion Access in California

May 28, 2019
Since January, politicians (overwhelmingly male) have passed laws severely restricting abortions in six states — Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio. These politicians have stopped pretending that their restrictions are about making abortion care safer. These laws are about taking away the right to abortion. They are being clear, so let us be even clearer: abortion is ba... Read More

Your Personal Information is Yours, Not the Raw Material for Surveillance Technology

May 09, 2019
The information that you share with a company should not be repurposed or sold without your consent. But companies are building algorithms from massive repositories of personal information, collected from people who are not told about how the company will use their information. A recent report revealed a troubling example of this invasive practice. A Silicon Valley-based company called Ever app... Read More

No One Should Have to Travel in Fear

Apr 02, 2019
I’ve worked for Silicon Valley companies for more than a decade and international travel is a necessary part of my job. I’ve had my fair share of delays and missed connections, but one thing I’ve never experienced while traveling in airports is fear. That changed last December when I returned from a business trip to Europe. Going through customs is usually routine for me. I signed up for the Gl... Read More

Will California lawmakers vote to protect Californians’ privacy or tech industry profits?

Mar 27, 2019
Last year, California lawmakers passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a new law to strengthen consumer privacy protections. A few weeks ago, newly-elected Oakland Assemblymember Buffy Wicks introduced AB 1760: Privacy for All, to add critical improvements to current law and ensure privacy is a right we can all exercise in California – and pave the way for other states to do the same –... Read More

The FBI Won’t Hand Over Its Surveillance Records on ‘Black Identity Extremists,’ so the ACLU and CMJ are Suing

Mar 21, 2019
At a time when violence by white supremacists is on the rise, the FBI appears to be targeting Black people in a secret intelligence program concerning so-called “Black Identity Extremists”— an inflammatory term for a group that doesn’t even exist. The bureau’s practice echoes earlier, shameful government surveillance programs that sought to discredit civil rights and Black power activists who were... Read More

Catholic Bishops Stopped My Surgery Because I’m Transgender

Mar 21, 2019
After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about their decisions, I felt hopeful as I arrived for the surgery I had waited so long for. I was 27, and I would finally be closer to calling my body home. Since I was a kid, I’ve felt like my body didn’t match my soul. I felt uncomfortable in clothes. I felt disgusting when I showered. ... Read More