In Virginia, sandwich boarders will be in Charlottesville’s Downtown MallThe American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has joined in a national campaign to reform the Patriot Act. Around the country, elected officials, community leaders and grassroots activists are picking up the pace to make sure the Patriot Act is fixed, not expanded.
“Nearly 400 communities - including seven states - have passed resolutions calling on Congress to amend the Patriot Act to restore basic checks and balances,” said ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis. "It is time for concerned Americans to come together and let Congress know that we expect them to protect our rights and civil liberties.”
In addition to directly communicating with congressional representatives though meetings, phone calls, letters and emails, ACLU supporters will be reaching out in communities across the country to let their neighbors know how the Patriot Act affects them. For example, activists in Charlottesville will be at the downtown mall tomorrow from noon until 2:00 p.m. wearing “sign” boards that display personal information, like “I have only one kidney” and “I saw my therapist this week.” The purpose of these messages is to demonstrate that the Patriot Act puts Americans’ privacy at risk by allowing law enforcement agencies access to medical, financial, religious and other records.
The ACLU will also unveil a new Web site, www.reformthepatriotact.org, to help Americans speak out and get more involved in the fight to protect the Constitution. Through this Web site, people can contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose efforts to expand and make the Patriot Act permanent. They can also urge their lawmakers to, at a minimum, support the common-sense reforms in the bipartisan SAFE Act.
Next week, local elected officials from across the country, who represent communities that have passed resolutions calling for Patriot Act reform, will visit Washington, D.C. to deliver copies of those resolutions and remind lawmakers that their constituents want the Patriot Act brought in line with the Constitution.
“In the coming weeks, Congress will debate whether some of the Patriot Act’s most sweeping provisions should be reauthorized and expanded," added Willis. “We encourage Americans in Charlottesville and across the country to join the fight to restore checks and balances, and bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution.”
Contact: Kent Willis, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia, 804-644-8022