The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) Is a nonpartisan, non-profit membership organization whose mission is to assure that the Bill of Rights and the rights guaranteed by the Connecticut Constitution are preserved for each new generation. The ACLU-CT accomplishes these goals through legislative advocacy, litigation, grassroots organizing and public education on a broad array of issues affecting our liberties. The ACLU-CT is one of 53 affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union nationwide.
The ACLU-CT is comprised of two separate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Connecticut. Although both the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Connecticut are part of the same overall organization, it is necessary that the ACLU-CT have two separate organizations in order to do a broad range of work for civil liberties. This Web site collectively refers to the two organizations under the name "ACLU-CT." For more information about the distinction between the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Connecticut click here.
In every era of American history, the government has tried to expand its authority at the expense of individual rights. The ACLU-CT exists to make sure that doesn't happen, and to fight back when it does. The ACLU-CT is devoted exclusively to protecting the basic civil liberties of all in the state of Connecticut, and extending them to groups that have traditionally been denied them. In its more than five decades of existence, the ACLU-CT has become widely recognized as the state's foremost advocate of individual rights.
The ACLU-CT, originally named the New Haven Civil Liberties Council (NHCLC), was founded in 1949 in the aftermath of the riots at the Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York. Concert-goers were savagely attacked and a Yale medical student suffered a fractured skull and the loss of one eye. The rioters, who were organized by the American Legion, seemed to have the virtual blessing, if not active support of the local police. The rioters had targeted the concert because of the political beliefs of Robeson and the concert-goers. As a result, the founding NHCLC members saw that bedrock American principles of racial tolerance and the freedom to think, speak and join political groups were at stake.
Today the ACLU-CT confronts both traditional and new threats to civil liberties on many fronts. Advanced technologies presage new systems that have the capacity to either diminish or expand rights. Meanwhile, our society's most Intractable problems remain age-old ones: racism, sexism, homophobia and religious Intolerance. The ACLU-CT's mission remains realizing the promise of the Bill of Rights for all and expanding the reach of its guarantees to new areas.