Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Cities, County, State Recognize Work Of The ACLU

September 15, 2009

Cities, County, State Recognize Work Of The ACLU
Former Supervisor John Woolley to present proclamation on Thursday at Noon at Courthouse

The Redwood Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announces that the cities of Arcata and Eureka, the County of Humboldt and the California State Assembly have adopted the resolution drafted by local Redwood Chapter activists to recognize the 75th Anniversary of the ACLU of Northern California, the largest state ACLU affiliate in the country.

The ACLU-NC was founded in the wake of the San Francisco General Strike of 1934, with ACLU attorneys taking the lead in protecting rights of assembly and protest to aid workers’ rights to organize and stand up for their interests. The next years’ Holmes-Eureka strike, in which three strikers were killed and hundreds arrested, no attorneys in Humboldt County were wiling to defend the strikers -- ACLU of Northern California legal counsel stepped in, with Ernest Besig serving as their attorney, and later as ACLU-NC Executive Director for over 30 years.

In their respective proclamations, these respective governments “recognize the ongoing work of the state and local ACLU in fostering dialogue on voting integrity, promoting independent civilian review of law enforcement, protecting the rights of rental tenants from discrimination, defending the rights of Native American children to be free of racial harassment and otherwise promoting the spirit of the Bill of Rights on the North Coast.”

The cities and the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors also recognized the ongoing work of the Redwood Chapter, ACLU in standing up for civil rights in our local region. After 18 years as the founding chairwoman of the Redwood ACLU, deputy public defender Christina Allbright handed off the gavel to last year’s Vice Chair, Arcata attorney Greg Allen -- but in recognition for her work, Supervisors presented Allbright with the county’s proclamation, and their thanks, for her tireless efforts.

“This recognition is really a tribute to the coalition-building work of the civil rights community in building bridges we can all stand on in mutual respect for each other and for the Bill of Rights,” Allbright said. “As ever, there is more work to be done to fully implement independent police oversight, pursue electoral reform and restore a sense of restorative justice to our judicial system. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts to see these ideals made manifest.”

Allbright will accept the California State Assembly proclamation, submitted by Assemblyman Wes Chesbro of Arcata, from his Field Representative, former Humboldt County Supervisor John Woolley. This will take place at Noon on Thursday on the steps of the county courthouse.

“I really want to voice my appreciation for the legislators at all levels of government who have helped make this happen,” Allen said. “We have certainly had our moments of disagreement, and may again in the future, but I’m very thankful to see that we’re all on the same page when it comes to protecting the inalienable rights of every citizen of California.”

The Redwood Chapter, ACLU represents over 850 ACLU members across Del Norte, Humboldt, Western Trinity and Northern Mendocino Counties. Their offices are located at 917 Third Street in Old Town Eureka. For more information, call the Redwood ACLU at (707) 442-4419 or visit