By Brian Tashman, Political Researcher and Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union
While Donald Trump and Kris Kobach look for ways to disenfranchise Americans, People Power is launching the Let People Vote campaign to uphold, protect, and expand the right to vote.
We have witnessed the impact of People Power activists in the ACLU’s ongoing Freedom Cities campaign, where volunteers have advocated that their communities adopt nine “model” rulesto ensure that local police aren’t used to target and discriminate against immigrant communities.
Just look at how a group of concerned citizens can make a difference in a city like Phoenix.
In July, the city announced major changes to ensure that the police do not engage in profiling based on race or perceived immigration status. People Power activists — working alongside allies from the ACLU of Arizona and groups like Puente and the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, legal experts, local officials, and law enforcement officers — successfully campaigned for the department to adopt policies from the Freedom Cities campaign. Phoenix Assistant City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. praised the activists as everyday people looking to make a difference in their city:
One of the most reasonable groups I’ve talked with since coming here. It was very pleasant. A former high school teacher, a magazine editor, 2 [attorneys], a massage therapist, and two Hispanic advocates who I’ve never seen before. Clearly wanting to work with us in a non adversarial way.
Phoenix was far from alone, as concerned citizens from all walks of life across the country have joined the effort to defend immigrant rights, scoring important victories in cities like Denver and Ann Arbor as well as in states from California to New Jersey and from Illinois to New Mexico.
Now, we are going on offense to fight for voting rights.