ACLU Opens New South Carolina Office Today

July 2, 2008 12:00 am

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Launch Brings Powerful Voice To Protect Constitutional Liberties Of All South Carolinians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: info@aclusouthcarolina.org

CHARLESTON, SC – The American Civil Liberties Union opened its new South Carolina Office today, marking the creation of a new and powerful voice on behalf of civil liberties across the state.

At an afternoon press conference and ceremonial ribbon-cutting that included Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and a host of other political and community leaders, Graham Boyd, a native South Carolinian and the Interim Executive Director of the ACLU South Carolina Office, announced the details of what will be a broad, non-partisan approach to defending constitutional rights in the state and new commitments to engaging the state’s civil liberties community and seeking and responding to the opinions of all South Carolinians.

“There is a deep and abiding need here in South Carolina for the continued protection of our most central American values,” said Boyd. “The ACLU’s South Carolina Office is committed to preserving the principles contained within the Bill of Rights for all South Carolinians.”

The press conference, intentionally timed to coincide with this week’s celebration of Independence Day, was held at Charleston’s Old Exchange Building – site of South Carolina’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.

“The state of South Carolina was one of the earliest states in the union to ratify the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and that is a legacy that we take very seriously,” said Boyd. “We cannot allow the hallowed constitutional principles that have served as the bedrock of our democracy to be compromised in any way, and we pledge to work to ensure that those principles are applied fairly and to everyone in this state.”

Among the initiatives that Boyd announced today is the launching of a statewide tour during which the ACLU’s South Carolina Office team will travel throughout the state in an effort to elicit feedback from a wide swath of the state’s constituencies about what they believe should be the office’s initial priorities.

“There could be no better location for the opening of the South Carolina office of the ACLU than the site of the State’s ratification of the U. S. Constitution,” said Mayor Riley. “As a guardian of civil liberties and the rights provided by the Constitution, the ACLU will provide the citizens of South Carolina the strength of their voice and their dedication. We are pleased to welcome the office and Graham Boyd to Charleston and look forward to the participation of this fine organization in our state.”

Boyd also announced the creation of a web-based survey – located at www.aclusouthcarolina.org – that has been designed to engage the general public in providing statewide and community-specific input on areas of need and prioritization for the new office, as well a slate of community meetings to be held throughout the state in July and August that will allow open-community-wide discussion of specific issues of importance in South Carolina.

“We are here to serve the people of this great state, and we can’t do that effectively without first listening to the community about what the needs of the state are,” said Boyd. “A significant portion of our initial emphasis is going to be on simply listening.”

Boyd said that some of the particular issues he expects the office to focus on initially include privacy – including the Real ID Act, medical privacy and the use of DNA to obtain private, personal information – and voter rights.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring access to the ballot for all people who are entitled to vote,” said Boyd.

Additional information about the ACLU South Carolina Office – including its web-based survey – can be found online at: www.aclusouthcarolina.org

Additional information about the ACLU can be found online at: www.aclu.org

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