The authors of the Declaration of Independence outlined a bold vision for America: a nation in which all people would be free and equal. More than two hundred years later, we've yet to achieve it.
In pursuit of a world free of discrimination, we focus on racial justice work in Missouri by taking on cases designed to have a significant and wide-reaching effect on communities of color. The ACLU of Missouri strives to end the disproportionate impact of police abuses, over-incarceration, and the selective enforcement of drug laws on communities of color.
Good police practices, thorough training, carefully crafted policies, and appropriate allocation of resources in law enforcement, can ensure public safety and prevent abuses in encounters between police officers and citizen. Unfortunately, across the nation patterns of racial profiling, the selective enforcement of laws against people of color, and disturbing stop-and-frisk policies have resulted in a disproportionate effect on certain communities, with people of color coming in contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system at far greater rates than white people.
The "school-to-prison pipeline" refers to the policies and practices that push our schoolchildren, especially those most at-risk, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Missouri is one of the worst offenders. Read more about our work on Missouri's school-to-prison pipeline.
The ACLU has defended the voting rights of minorities for most of our history. As a national organization, we challenged the “poll tax”—designed to prevent black Americans from voting—decades before a constitutional amendment abolished the practice in 1964, and we have been the primary enforcer of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).