Inspired by the past and current efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in protecting the rights of the oppressed and marginalized, the University of Miami School of Law has joined the fight by forming the student-led organization, ACLU-UM, this past fall. Over fifty Miami Law students have united in this cause by becoming members of the law school’s ACLU chapter, the first ever at Miami Law.
“Talking about civil liberties issues is not enough,” said ACLU-UM President and founder of the chapter, Brandon Deegan. “Our members are actively working with the Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU to help the people of Miami and to achieve concrete change.”
The mission of the ACLU, for nearly 100 years, has been to protect the individual rights and liberties of Americans everywhere. It is arguably the most active and successful civil rights organization in the country. The ACLU has over 500,000 members and supporters. It has brought more Supreme Court cases than any non-government organization in the country and gives strength to those who cannot fight for themselves. The ACLU-UM was created with this philosophy in mind.
"ACLU-UM allows me to be proactive in the areas that I think are important,” said ACLU-UM Vice-President Anna Vino. “As a member of this student organization, I am able to contribute to the cause of the ACLU, which fights to protect various liberties and rights such as immigrants' rights, privacy rights, juvenile rights, and women’s rights. I think that the ACLU is doing a great job, and I want to contribute through my participation in the ACLU-UM Chapter."
In conjunction with the ACLU Great Miami Chapter, ACLU-UM has been providing volunteers for events. For example, ACLU-UM members recently helped with ACLU outreach at the Miami International Book Fair.
"I would strongly encourage all students to join the ACLU-UM student organization,” said ACLU-UM Executive Board Member Maxim Tsoy. “The ACLU will allow the student members to develop ties with the local and regional ACLU Chapters, participate in organizing conferences and guest lectures, and conduct research and fact-finding for the ACLU."
The National ACLU is currently in the spotlight as it takes to the courts to stand up for individuals’ privacy rights in a time when the government is reportedly compiling personal information and communications at a scale that is unheard of in our nation’s history. By pushing for laws that protect Americans and educating the public about these important issues, people will become more proactive in protecting themselves.
Ultimately, the ACLU-UM seeks to bring many new and exciting opportunities to students by encouraging them to fight for worthwhile causes they believe in.