The American Civil Liberties Union announced Monday (February 8) its new groundbreaking racial justice agenda that includes support for a reparations bill. They are also calling for the expansion of resources into southern states and pushing for rural post offices to adopt basic banking services.
This will shift the century-old organization’s emphasis on defending free speech to take on systemic racism amid the recent nationwide racial awakening and provide support to traditionally underfunded minority-led efforts that fight for free speech, according to Yahoo.
Earlier this month, the ACLU’s national board elected civil rights attorney Deborah Archer as its new president, making her her the first Black woman to lead the organization.
“We can begin to unlock the potential that is in some of these states, and begin to create the political environment that is much more conducive for racial justice and civil rights and civil liberties. You can change the national map,” said Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU’s executive director on the new planned endeavor in a press release.
The group’s “Systemic Equality agenda” includes a demand to pass bills sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) that would fund a commission to study proposals on reparations for African Americans.
There’s also an initiative to have post offices in rural Black, Native American and Latinx communities offer stations where check cashing, money transfers, and bill payments services would be available.
The ACLU is vowing to invest up to $40 million to expand staffing in its Southern affiliates to aggressively fight systemic racism in that region.
The civil liberties organization’s agenda comes as the reparation movement has garnered mainstream attention, largely in part to the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project as well as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’ groundbreaking piece “The Case for Reparations” for The Atlantic and President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to address systemic racism.
Read more about the ACLU’s new initiative here.