10 Ways the ACLU and Our Supporters Showed Up in 2022

Whether we're fighting for voting rights or reproductive rights, the ACLU shows up to fight for everyone’s rights and freedoms nationwide.

Whenever people’s rights are under attack, the ACLU shows up. On behalf of voting rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights and beyond, the ACLU’s affiliates, members, clients, volunteers, and staff all do their part to fight for everyone’s rights. Month after month, year after year, in the streets, statehouses, and courts, we continue to show up across the country for everyone’s rights and freedoms.

In 2022, the ACLU defended civil rights and civil liberties alongside our supporters at every turn. We do this work because we believe “We the People” means all of us, and we will not stop until America lives up to its promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.

Here are just a few of the ways we showed up this year.

1. We blocked the Stop WOKE Act in Florida, setting precedent to prevent classroom censorship.

In the foreground (at an intersection,) two protesters carry signs with one reading "EDUCATION WITHOUT LIMITATION" and the other "TEACH US THE TRUTH", while in the background, other student demonstrators line an overpass protesting a proposal to emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history.

Credit: Brennan Linsley/AP Photo

In November, a federal judge blocked Florida from enforcing the Stop WOKE Act in a lawsuit we filed on behalf of seven instructors and one student in colleges and universities across the state. Florida is just one of over a dozen states across the country that have passed laws censoring discussions around race and gender in the classroom, and this is the first time a court has ruled that this type of classroom censorship law is unconstitutional. This preliminary victory could present an opportunity to bolster similar challenges to classroom censorship efforts nationwide.

2. We showed up in court with transgender kids, their parents, and providers in the fight to protect gender-affirming care in Arkansas.

Dylan Brandt and his mother Joanna.

Credit: Rana Young

In our ongoing federal lawsuit, Brandt v. Rutledge, four families of transgender youth and two health care providers challenged an Arkansas law that would prohibit health care professionals from providing or even referring transgender young people for medically necessary health care. The case went to trial in October.

3. With our local partners and county officials, we successfully negotiated groundbreaking bail reform in Shelby County, Tennessee without litigation.

A number of bail bonds offices.

Credit: Eric Risberg/AP Photo

In August, the county passed bail reform measures that include shorter timelines for hearings and considerations for a person’s financial circumstances. These reforms will make Shelby County one of the fairest bail process systems in the country.

Join the Fight
Protecting the civil liberties of all depends on the support of ACLU members in all 50 states and beyond. We need you with us to keep fighting — donate today.

4. We reached a historic settlement with the U.S. government for our client Sherry Chen after government officials unlawfully investigated, prosecuted, and fired her from her job as an award-winning hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

A portrait of Sherry Chen.

Credit: Maddie Hordinski

This is a win for Ms. Chen and for all Asian American scientists who have been unjustly profiled or prosecuted because of their race and ethnicity. Government profiling and discrimination is unacceptable and this victory makes it clear: When the government labels us a threat because of our race or ethnicity, we will hold them accountable.

5. We advocated for the First Amendment in Arizona by challenging a law that criminalized people for filming the police.

A man records Sheriff deputies with his cell phone as demonstrators rally at the Hamilton County Courthouse to protest the murder of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Credit: Jason Whitman/NurPhoto via AP

In August, we sued Arizona after lawmakers passed a law that makes it a crime for people to record videos within eight feet of police activity. This law is a violation of a vital constitutional right and will severely thwart attempts to build police accountability, particularly in communities of color.

6. We rallied in the streets, statehouses, and courtrooms around the country to protest the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and protect abortion access.

A reproductive rights rally outside of the Supreme Court with a sign in the foreground saying, "Bans Off Our Bodies."

Credit: Will Martinez

Alongside our affiliates, supporters, volunteers, and partner organizations, we came together to fight for reproductive rights at the ballot box in states such as Michigan, and we won. We fought abortion bans in 12 lawsuits across 10 states, and spoke out against the criminalization of health care.

Join the Fight
Protecting the civil liberties of all depends on the support of ACLU members in all 50 states and beyond. We need you with us to keep fighting — donate today.

7. With community members in the South, we spread the word about racial discrimination against voters in redistricting.

Rep. Dan Eubanks, R-Walls, examines a copy of the House redistricting map during a meeting of the House Legislative Reapportionment Committee.

Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/ AP Photo

ACLU affiliates have been fighting to ensure Black voters in the South have a fair opportunity to elect candidates of their choice through this year’s round of redistricting. Our integrated advocacy work in Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida aims to ensure our political leaders don’t continue to disenfranchise these same communities.

8. We pushed back against myths about seeking asylum in the United States and protected the rights of asylum seekers.

A collection of cloths representing the U.S. flag on a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Credit: Guillermo Arias

Although our laws provide a clear right for people fleeing persecution to seek asylum in the U.S., anti-immigration lawmakers have purposefully sown confusion. We continued to set the record straight, and won in court when a federal judge struck down Title 42, a policy first implemented under Trump to unlawfully expel people seeking asylum under the false claim of improving public health.

9. Following the lead of high school students, we equipped our supporters with the knowledge to organize their own banned book clubs in the face of censorship efforts.

Portrait of Ella Scott.

Credit: Sarah Harlan

Students who are directly impacted by classroom censorship bills and books bans are at the forefront of advocating for their right to receive an inclusive education. Ella Scott, a junior at Vandegrift High School who co-founded the Vandegrift Banned Book Club in response to book bans happening at her Texas school, shared advice on how to start your own banned book club.

Join the Fight
Protecting the civil liberties of all depends on the support of ACLU members in all 50 states and beyond. We need you with us to keep fighting — donate today.

10. With community and coalition partners, we fought back against a school board policy in Hanover County, Virginia that discriminates against transgender students.

A person holding a sign reading "We Support Trans Youth."

Credit: Greg Latza

Through advocacy, litigation, and lobbying, we’re working together to elevate the stories of transgender people impacted by discriminatory policies, and push back against the all out attack on LGBTQ+ Virginians.