From protests at the Michigan Capitol, preachers in the school cafeteria, and police officer's closed door policies we're shaking things up on the civil liberties front.
The Kalamazoo Civil Liberties Film Fest concludes Friday, March 25th with George Orwell's dystopian vision, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Don't miss out, purchase your tickets today.
Free Speech belongs at the Capitol
This week, all signs were banned from the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol just as demonstrators gathered to use their First Amendment rights to protests budget cuts and the undermining of collective bargaining.
Barring Michiganders from expressing themselves with signs in the very building where life-altering laws are enacted places core democratic values at stake.
We've written a letter urging the agency that oversees the state Capitol to reconsider this undemocratic policy (via Lansing State Journal).
Religion at School?
The South Haven school district took the first steps towards greater religious liberty, working with the ACLU of Michigan to draft guidelines on religion in school.
Before the ACLU intervened, a school volunteer had been permitted to encourage students to become active in a local church.
The new policy makes clear that students of all faiths deserve to feel welcome and included at school (via Kalamazoo Gazette and The Herald-Palladium).
Just like on Law & Order
The detectives are grilling a suspect. Suddenly, the door opens and a defense lawyer swoops in, ending the interrogation and defending their client.
You can see it on any television police show, but in Clinton Township some lawyers were denied access to their clients.
We reminded the Clinton Township Police Department that this practice was clearly unconstitutional, and their interrogation policy has been changed.
ACLU of Michigan Staff Attorney Dan Korobkin says this "positive response provides an opportunity for other police agencies to review their practices to ensure the right to counsel is protected" (via Detroit News).
Women Being Stalked Shouldn't Get Evicted
After two calls to the police for protection from her abusive ex-boyfriend, Laurie Grape was warned that a third call would result in her eviction.
Although her ex-boyfriend continued to threaten her, she couldn't contact the police because she feared that she and her children would lose their home.
Learn more about the ACLU's response at the Blog of Rights.