Following a year that marked unprecedented success in the areas of reproductive freedom, voting rights, reform of the criminal legal system, and LGBTQ+ equity, the ACLU of Michigan is looking forward as this new year begins – and a new state Legislature is seated.
It is imperative that we both protect and build upon the victories achieved in 2022. With momentum on our side, our immediate attention will be focused on the Michigan Legislature and Governor’s Office as we work with coalition and community partners to pass a host of new laws that will protect and expand civil liberties, especially in the areas of criminal legal system reform, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, and reproductive health care.
With opportunities to move important legislation forward, we will be relying upon your support as much as ever. We will be asking you to engage and take action to contact lawmakers regarding specific pieces of legislation. Just as you rallied to collect signatures and get out the vote in 2022, we will be asking you to tap into that power again in 2023 and build on that momentum to protect reproductive rights and voting rights, expand protections for LGBTQ+ people in Michigan and secure important criminal legal system reforms for a Michigan that is a more just and equitable place for all its residents. The same muscle that expanded voting rights and protected reproductive freedom for generations to come is now even stronger, and ready to flex anew in the weeks and months to come. Our organizing team is working across the state to cultivate relationships with municipal clerks to advance our newly won voting rights under Proposal 2 of 2022 and eliminate barriers to the ballot box as we look ahead to the 2024 election. We’ve seen what is possible when Michiganders organize, and we’re excited to build on the incredible foundation built this past year to ensure all voters have free and fair access to the ballot.
Alongside our legislative and organizing teams, our formidable legal team will continue its work to defend and advance racial justice, LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights. We will persist in monitoring our criminal legal system and fighting against unjust treatment that undermine liberty and equality. And, as always, we remain ready to take action whenever government officials threaten free speech and other civil rights. The ongoing attempts to ban books from libraries, and targeting of the LGBTQ+ students by lawmakers will also be high on our radar.
Before saying a final good-bye to 2022, I’d like to express the tremendous depth of appreciation and joy last year’s victories brought. Thank you for walking alongside us as we gave it our all to ensure that every person in Michigan has access to reproductive healthcare and access to vote in safe and secure elections. The work was incredibly hard, but it was also incredibly heartening. It paid off in so many ways, including -refueling faith in the system. It was inspiring to see what we can accomplish when we work together in the fight to protect and expand our rights.
We are looking forward to you continuing along with us as we face the challenges and opportunities 2023 will bring.
Loren Khogali is executive director of the ACLU of Michigan.