Annual Report 2022
From our Executive Director:
The ACLU of Mississippi was principally founded to fight on behalf of Black and Brown people and we continue to prioritize the fight for racial justice. Our Mississippi office grew out of the work of Civil Rights activists and attorneys whom worked on redistricting cases, implementing the Voting Rights Act, defending Black citizens from police brutality and protecting the First Amendment rights of civil rights workers.
ACLU MS is rooted in the fight against White supremacy. And we must embrace that. But we also must understand that White supremacy is not just attacking the rights of Black people, but women, all persons of color, and LGBTQ individuals (especially trans kids) are under assault.
In 2022, we remained intentional about our work because this moment requires that we are purposeful and deliberate with our time and resources.
In April of 2022, on behalf of a group of Black voters, we brought a lawsuit challenging the makeup of Mississippi’s three Supreme Court Districts. Those districts are drawn to prevent Black Mississippians, particularly those living in Jackson and the Mississippi Delta, from electing justices of their choice.
The ACLU of Mississippi is also preparing litigation to challenge legislative districts that dilute Black voting strength in Mississippi. We are bringing these lawsuits because our institutions will not respond to the policy needs of all Mississippians if those bodies fail to fairly represent the makeup of our state.
This summer, we challenged the Legislature’s $10 million appropriation to private schools because it violates the Mississippi constitution’s strict prohibition against providing public funds to any school “not conducted as a free school.” And we won! We brought this lawsuit because the powerful should not be able to disregard our laws when it suits them. We also know that when Mississippi fails to invest in public education it disproportionately hurts Black families.
In January, we successfully settled a lawsuit in North Mississippi after we sued the City of Horn Lake for openly discriminating against a group of Muslim citizens and illegally denied their request to build a mosque. Last month, we stepped up to represent Black community leaders and organizations in Gulfport fighting for environmental justice and to block a port expansion through historically Black neighborhoods.
Going into 2023, ACLU of Mississippi will prioritize advocacy in the areas of voter education and rights, criminal justice reform and LGBTQ civil rights. We will continue litigation to protect marginalized communities, hold the state of Mississippi accountable for violating the State constitution, challenge electoral districts that harm Black voters, and advocate for smarter criminal justice policies.
There remains much more work to do. We will continue the fight to preserve and extend constitutional rights to every Mississippian.
I invite you to visit aclu-ms.org to learn more about our work, become a supporter or even sign up to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU.
Thank you for standing with us.