September 27, 2013

What happens to a state that expells its children from school, bans free speech in public spaces, and allows illegal police practices to terrorize communities. We don't want to find out. Find out how we're fighting these outrageous practices from taking hold in Michigan in this week’s rights review.

Michigan News

Expelling Michigan's Future
Kyle Thompson is a normal kid. He likes playing football, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. So why has this young student been under house arrest and barred from his school for six months? 

Kyle is part of a national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The ACLU believes that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We are working to challenge policies and practices that contribute to the school to prison pipeline.

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Racial Profiling Claims A Life in Saginaw
We hear far too many complaints about racial profiling to imagine that the tragic shooting of a homeless black man by Saginaw Police is the only incident.

During a standoff between officers and Hall at a convenience store, six officers fired their weapons at Milton Hall, killing him. In September 2012, a day after county and state officials announced that their investigation was closed without criminal charges being filed against the officers, the Department of Justice announced a federal probe into possible civil rights violations.

Police practices that illegally target communities of color erode public safety and result in trageties like the death of Mr. Hall. That's why we're urging the Department of Justice to investigate potentially illegal police practices in Michigan.

Yet Another Victory for Free Speech
While showing off the best that the city has to offer, Detroit's Riverwalk can't create a Constitution-free zone where people are free to walk or bike... but not to speak their mind.

Last summer, a small group of women and men from an organization called Women in Black began to walk in a peaceful, silent march along the RiverWalk protesting war and violence. However, as the women and men began their march, a security guard told them that they were not allowed to demonstrate and ordered them to stop.

Political speech deserves the strongest protection under the First Amendment and nowhere is that more important than on our public sidewalks and parks. 

National News

Banned Books Week: The Struggle Against Censorship Continues
This week marks the 31st annual "Banned Books Week," the American Library Association's celebration of the freedom to read.

"Banned Books Week" serves as an important reminder of our ongoing duty to ensure that our government maintains open access to all kinds of ideas and information. Although some may think that censorship is a relic from a bygone age, the urge to suppress seemingly dangerous or offensive thoughts will exist as long as human beings continue to think.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, each year the ACLU of Michigan Southwestern Branch and the Kalamazoo Public Library invites local celebrities and officials to read frequently challenged and censored books aloud. This year's selections include the children's book Captain Underpants as well as pop culture phenomenon 50 Shades of Grey. RSVP to attend this Tuesday