Please come by at https://ucla.zoom.us/j/93534879077; you can also read the article (20 pages); here’s the Introduction:
Michael Powell, June 7, 2021 New York Times article—”Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis”—raised a perennial issue that has roiled not only the ACLU, but also society in general, throughout my adult lifetime: do we have to choose between freedom of speech and other aspects of the civil liberties/human rights agenda? The ACLU has been fighting for the rights of all citizens, not just equality. It was founded more than 100-years ago. ACLU critics say that it is antithetical its strong advocacy of equality rights. Other ACLU critics claim the ACLU’s defense of free speech rights, even when it is being used to send anti-civil liberty messages, is somehow incompatible with equal justice advocacy.
The ACLU’s mission is closely aligned with government’s: To uphold all rights, not to favor any one group or person over another. The ACLU’s work to support our national aspirations for “liberty, justice and for all” is a topic that resonates with government policy. The ACLU-focused debates mirror more general debates about the appropriate prioritization of racial justice and free speech in our public sphere—for example, in public schools and universities.